Supporting Canadian Athletes

AthletesCAN congratulates President Josh Vander Vies on the announcement of his retirement from Boccia

(Ottawa, ON – May 7) AthletesCAN congratulates President Josh Vander Vies, bronze medalist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the sport of Boccia, on the announcement of his retirement from sport, after eleven years on the Canadian national team.

Josh earned a number of international podium finishes, and his international career is highlighted by a bronze medal win at the London Paralympic Games, with doubles partner, Marco Dispaltro.

Off the field of play, Josh has been a strong advocate for the athlete voice both nationally and internationally. Josh was elected by Canada’s national team athletes to the AthletesCAN Board of Directors in 2008 and 2014, where he is currently serving a 3 year term as volunteer President, taking a lead role in establishing a fair and supportive athlete-centered sport system in Canada. Supported by a strong volunteer board of other national team athletes and a dedicated staff, his 2015 vision for AthletesCAN is to continue building athlete leaders, while amplifying the Canadian athlete voice in four key areas including athlete funding, athlete targeting, anti-doping and athlete agreements.

”The concept of leadership played such a central role in my development as an athlete and person; without a doubt, my academic pursuits, and my growth and accomplishments off the field of play fuelled my wins on boccia courts around the world,” said Vander Vies. “I am honoured to be trusted by the Canadian national team athlete leaders of AthletesCAN to help lead their voice and improve Canadian sport,” he adds.

“Adequate direct funding to Canadian amateur athletes is essential for Canada to have a thriving sport culture and excellent international results. Ensuring the right support reaches the right athletes at the right time is not an exact science, and we look forward to exploring the most optimized ways of empowering athletes within the Canadian sport system.”

“As doping scandals continue to impact a small number of sports internationally, we are ready to carry out our responsibility to ensure that Canadian anti-doping responses are fair, reasonably respect the rights of clean athletes, and have the ability to stop actual cheating in sport. In the coming weeks, we are proud to be releasing an in-depth academic article The Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada, which explores potential ways to transform the contracts between National Sport Organizations (NSOs) and athletes from instruments of administrative control into documents that can facilitate high performance relationships.”

Josh was also Athlete Representative on the Board of Directors of Boccia’s NSO from 2008 to 2013. He served a two-year term as Athlete Representative to the International Boccia Committee in 2006 and acted as the Athlete Council representative on the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) Board of Directors while chairing the CPC Athletes’ Council from 2008 to 2012.

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AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world. As the collective voice of Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture.

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