10th anniversary of Vancouver Olympics group pic

OLY Canada Commission created to empower Team Canada Olympians

TORONTO (April 29, 2021) — On Thursday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced the creation of the OLY Canada Commission. Eight inaugural elected and appointed Commission Members were also announced. 

The OLY Canada Commission represents “Team Canada Olympians” which includes both active and retired Olympians, and brings Canada into alignment with the IOC and World Olympian Association governance requirements.

“I’m thrilled that our OLY Canada Commission has been recognized by the World Olympians Association,” COC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General, David Shoemaker said. “OLY Canada has led important initiatives such the OLY grants and Games anniversaries. With a new commission to help guide OLY Canada, we are excited to see what’s on the horizon.”

The objective of OLY Canada is to empower all Team Canada Olympians (active and retired) as ambassadors of the Olympic Movement. A united and engaged Team Canada Olympian community brings the Olympian status beyond competition on the field of play and brings the Olympic Movement closer to Canadian society. In contrast, the COC’s Athlete Commission’s mandate is to represent the voice of current and aspiring Olympians and Pan American Games athletes and to provide their perspective in crucial areas such as athlete rights, safe sport policies, and Olympic Team selection policies. 

“On behalf of the World Olympians Association, I welcome the news that the National Olympians Association of Canada, formerly Olympians Canada, has restructured to become the OLY Canada Commission,” Joël Bouzou OLY, World Olympians Association President, said. “Under this new structure, the Commission will be strengthened, enabling it to continue its important work in providing leadership and opportunities for all Canadian Olympians. Congratulations to the newly appointed and elected members of the OLY Canada Commission who will help to further our cause of supporting Olympians at every stage of their lives.”

The inaugural OLY Canada Commission members are:

  1. Elected Members serving four year terms: David Calder OLY (Rowing – Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012), Christine Nesbitt OLY (Speed Skating – Turin 2006, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014), Claire Carver-Dias OLY (Artistic Swimming – Sydney 2000) and Olya Ovtchinnikova OLY (Fencing – Beijing 2008);

  2. COC Board Appointed Members serving two year terms: Charmaine Crooks OLY (Athletics – Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996) and Christian Farstad OLY (Bobsleigh – Lillehammer 1994, Albertville 1992);

  3. COC Athletes’ Commission Appointed Member serving terms based on their time on the AC: Philippe Marquis OLY (Freestyle Skiing – Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018); and

  4. COC Staff Appointed Member: Sandra Sassine OLY (Fencing – Beijing 2008, London 2012).

“It’s an honour to be appointed to represent Team Canada Olympians,” said two-time Olympian and OLY Canada Commission Member Christian Farstad OLY. “Under this new structure, the Commission Members will continue the important work accomplished by Olympians Canada to provide leadership and opportunities for all Team Canada Olympians to positively contribute to the Olympic Movement.”

In addition to serving as ambassadors of the Olympic Movement, the OLY Canada Commission will also help expand outreach to Retired Team Canada Olympians. An immediate initiative will be to celebrate work done by Retired Team Canada Olympians in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 as well as begin planning for the 25th anniversary of Atlanta 1996. 

To learn more about OLY Canada, please visit:



Josh Su, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee
C: 647-464-4060

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