Building Olympians: #NowOrNever

TORONTO — The Canadian Olympic Foundation (COF) is launching its first-ever marketing campaign, putting the faces of next generation athletes front and centre on the road to the podium.

This is the first time the COF is partnering with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) on a fully-integrated, digitally-enabled campaign featuring 21 Canadian athletes from 11 different sports. The campaign was first launched in April with the #NowOrNever video capturing a riveting and fast-paced account of the journey of Canadian athletes, beginning with their early signs of greatness and closing with their preparation for TORONTO 2015.

The COF is now focusing on the journey of next generation athletes, telling their stories as they become Canada’s next Olympians. This second #NowOrNever video picks up where the first one left off, rewinding the footage to focus on the years of training that can be transferred into podium performances.

At the core of this campaign are three first-hand documentaries featuring the ongoing journeys of young, high-performance athletes. These athletes’ perspectives provide a chance for Canadians to experience the unseen insights of tomorrow’s Olympic heroes before they stand on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

Pursuing excellence in sport requires long-term vision and funding. Some Olympic athletes estimate they spend as much as $80,000 a year for  training and competition. The COF recognizes that there’s still a gap when it comes to next generation athlete funding and the burden is often assumed by their families. This campaign is the continuation of the COF’s pursuit of ensuring additional funding avenues so Olympic dreams can be realized.

Critically acclaimed Canadian director Mark Zibert captured the essence of what #NowOrNever represents for Canadian athletes as they prepare for the Games in their own backyard. The spot closes with a call to action for Canadians to donate to the COF to help fuel the podium pipeline for future Olympic success.

Canadians will be able to experience the campaign on and Fans and media can also find the broadcast spot on CBC.

The seven next generation athletes featured in #NowOrNever include:

  • Mariam Abdul-Rashid – Hurdles (Oshawa, ON)
  • Soren Meeuwisse – Mountain Bike (Orillia, ON)
  • Jordyn Pedersen – Artistic Gymnastics (Mississauga, ON)
  • Ryan Oehrlein – Artistic Gymnastics (Georgetown, ON)
  • Megan Michelle Roberts – Artistic Gymnastics (Toronto, ON)
  • Jonathan Scripnick – Artistic Gymnastics (Milton, ON)
  • Ray Yang – Swimming (Etobicoke, ON)

The 14 other athletes featured in #NowOrNever include:

  • Steph Roorda, Track Cycling (Vancouver, BC)
  • Allison Beveridge, Track Cycling (Calgary, AB)
  • Kirsti Lay, Track Cycling (Medicine Hat, AB)
  • Annie Foreman-Mackey, Track Cycling (Kingston, ON)
  • Jim Brown, BMX (Airdrie, AB)
  • Whitney McClintock, Water Ski (Cambridge, ON)
  • Mark Oldershaw, Canoe Sprint (Burlington, ON)
  • Christabel Nettey, Athletics, Long Jump (Surrey, BC)
  • Brittany Crew, Athletics, Shot Put (East York, ON)
  • Crispin Duenas, Archery (Scarborough, ON)
  • Roseline Filion, Diving (Laval, QC)
  • Meaghan Benfeito, Diving (Laval, QC)
  • Victoria Moors, Artistic Gymnastics (Cambridge, ON)
  • Kevin Lytwyn, Artistic Gymnastics (Stoney Creek, ON)

In total, more than 700 Canadian athletes will represent Canada at TORONTO 2015 and the COC is proud to spotlight our sporting heroes. Not only will our country’s top athletes be competing in Toronto, there are also numerous Olympic qualification opportunities for Rio 2016. Canada is aiming for a top-two finish in the overall medal standings at the Pan American Games.

Established in 2007, the COF gives to priority partners that drive high performance athletic achievement for Canada’s Olympic podium potentials and for our next generation of Olympic athletes. The COF also funds athlete, coaching, and sport awards and scholarships.

The campaign was created, led and produced by the COC and COF and both organizations would like to thank Cossette for the production of the creative assets.


“This campaign features two short films to represent two chapters of athletes’ journey told in a unique way. It begins with the years of training they put in and ends with that pivotal moment on the field of play as they compete for gold. Both aim to tell our athletes’ stories as they prepare to make Canada proud on the world stage. Our message: with funding, the road to podium success is easier and faster. Without it, the road is longer and tougher. We built this campaign from the ground up to include the Canadian Olympic Foundation for the first time ever. We are giving a platform for Canadians to give back and give a hand up to help athletes to achieve their dreams. It’s now or never.”

Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee


“Olympic heroes aren’t born overnight. Canada must support athletes five to 12 years out from the Olympic Games to achieve results at Tokyo 2020 and beyond. The young athletes featured in the #NowOrNever campaign are a great representation of the many young, high-performance athletes across the country, and the support systems behind them, that are striving to achieve their Olympic goals. We’re grateful to the Canadian Olympic Committee and Cossette for their support on this campaign.”

Leanne Nicolle, Executive Director of the Canadian Olympic Foundation


“The story of all these future Olympians begins with their incredible passion, but passion can only take you so far. Without our support they will fail to realize their full potential. These young athletes represent the very best of what it means to be Canadian. Grit. Determination. Sacrifice. They’re willing to give everything they’ve got for love of sport, for love of country. Surely we can give them some small amount of support in return.”

Glen Hunt, Chief Transformation Officer of Cossette.


“Specialized coaching and proper training at early stages will help young, talented athletes develop an incredible foundation; physically, technically and mentally, so that they can compete at a world-class level. The work that the Canadian Olympic Foundation is doing to raise funds for next generation athletes will yield measurable success for Canada on the podium in the years to come.”

Marnie McBean, Three-time Olympic gold medallist and Canadian Olympic Foundation ambassador


“It was a great experience to be part of the Canadian Olympic Foundation’s #NowOrNevercampaign. As a young, developing athlete, it was an honour to represent my peers in the commercial. I hope that the campaign educates Canadians on the support required to help next generation athletes, like me, and that it will inspire them to help us achieve our dreams. We’re motivated and passionate, and with Canada’s support we know we can do it.”

Soren Meeuwisse, Next Generation Canadian Olympic Foundation Athlete

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