Supporting Canadian Athletes

Testimonials

“Becoming a world class athlete takes incredible determination, focus and hard work,” says Annamay Pierse, Olympic swimmer and world record holder. “The hours required to train, and subsequently recover your body do not leave time for much else, especially not a job,” she adds. “Having supporters like Investors Group and AthletesCAN, who provide direct support to Canadian athletes is truly incredible. Taking away the financial burden so many athletes face and allowing them to ‘get their job done’ is what is raising Canada’s athletes to higher successes. The Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund allowed me to do everything possible on my Olympic journey. For that I am truly grateful.”
“I am immensely grateful for the 2011 Team Investor Group Amateur Athletes Fund bursary I received through AthletesCAN, says Andréanne Morin, Olympic rower. “The decision to put my studies and part-time jobs aside in 2010 to return to the national rowing team was an easy one given how passionate I still was about my sport; however, it was harder to envision my lifestyle as a mature athlete training full time,” she adds. “Thanks to the IG Fund, I was able to relieve some financial stress, create a positive living environment for myself and stay focused on my goals for the upcoming London 2012 Games. As a silver medalist at the 2010 and 2011 World Championships, I am leaving no stone unturned and am paying close attention to the details that can make a difference and get the Canadian Women’s 8 team ahead of our competitors. Thank you to the IG Fund for supporting me and I hope to make all Canadians proud this summer in London 2012!”

In 2009 Skeleton athlete Jon Montgomery was one of 20 recipients to earn the Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund Bursary of $5,000 through AthletesCAN. In the lead up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler he had taken a step back from his career aspirations to focus on training full-time without a job.

“Very few programs exist that put dollars directly in the pockets of athletes and help with the monthly overhead of life”, says Jon. “Easing the financial burden of personal expenses creates a ripple effect through an athlete’s life that has a far reaching impact and when you win a gold medal by 7 hundredths of a second, as I did in Whistler, you can never really account for where that difference came from. Perhaps Investors Group’s generosity and desire to make an impact on the Canadian amateur sport landscape was the difference in my, Canada’s 100th Olympic Gold Medal, performance. I’m truly grateful.”

After missing out on the 2004 Olympic Games, wrestler Carol Huynh was determined to compete for Team Canada in Beijing.  In 2006, she moved from Vancouver to Calgary, leaving behind her friends and family, and putting her academic career on hold to enable her to focus solely on her training and pursue her Olympic Dreams to the fullest.

“With the help and support of AthletesCAN and Investors Group I was able to reach my Olympic aspirations and my family was able to share in my success at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games,” said Huynh.  “My Father, who was born in China, along with my family, was able to fly to Beijing to cheer me on from the stands as I won a gold medal for Canada. It was a dream come true which was made even more special as a major part of my support system including my husband, my parents, and my siblings got to be a part of this amazing experience.  I will never forget having my family there while I stood on the podium at the Olympic Games.”

In 2005, visually impaired runner Jason Dunkerley’s career almost ended when he was hit by a car. With the help of an Investor’s Group Bursary in 2006, Jason was able to focus on getting healthy and in 2007 won two Parapan Am Games gold medals. This is how the bursary helped him:

As a middle distance track athlete who is visually impaired, I must rely on guiding assistance from other runners in order to do the hard training needed to be competitive. Although I am extremely fortunate to have a committed group of training partners here in Ottawa with our track club, my main guide runner – with whom I have been partnered since 1998 – lives in Toronto.

Early in 2006, I was coming back after being hit by a car while on a training run with a friend, sustaining a fractured skull and a broken right leg. I was fortunately able to put a lot of focus on rehabbing my leg through physio and massage treatment while working a part time job. Coupled with some careful coaching, I slowly built up the quality and quantity of the running I could handle.

Being named as an Investors Group recipient made it possible for me to focus not only on rehabilitation after our accident while working just two days a week, but it allowed me to travel frequently to Toronto to train with my main guide. I was very fortunate to respond well to the mix of treatment and training. In July 2006, my guide and I qualified to represent Canada in the 800m and 1500m events for blind athletes at the IPC World Championships, held later that summer in Assen, the Netherlands. At the championships, we captured gold in both events. I believe we were fortunate in that the tactics in both races played into our hands, given that I was not in peak shape after having missed so much training earlier in the year. However, our success affirmed in my mind the fact that I was no longer in rehabilitation mode, and that I was truly back.

I feel a deep sense of appreciation towards Investors Group and to AthletesCAN for recognizing the efforts of so many athletes, and for providing support when it is truly needed. The assistance provided to me through the program was instrumental in enabling me to recover from injury and to get back on my running feet. Following our success at the IPC World Championships, my guide and I had our best ever season last year, establishing two new Canadian and Parapan American records in the 800m and 1500m blind events, and coming away with gold in both races at the Parapan American Games in Rio de Janeiro last August.

Speed Skater Jason Parker received a Team Investors Group Bursary in 2005 and in 2006 won an Olympic silver medal in Turino. This is how the bursary helped him achieve his dream:

Two weeks before receiving the Investors Group bursary, I found out that my government funding had been cut. I was expecting a cheque any day for $4,500 and was instead notified via email that it wasn’t coming!

It was an Olympic year and I was extremely stressed trying to figure out how pay my mortgage and put food on the table and continue training at the level I needed to…and then I received the Investors Group Bursary!  It was an absolute lifesaver!  If it wasn’t for them, I would have had to work much more to pay the bills and would have not been able to concentrate on training.  Now I have an Olympic Silver Medal and have achieved my lifelong dream!

After dedicating 20 years of my life to my sport, including 12 as a member of the national team, it is so nice to know that companies like Investors Group care about athletes.  Thank you Investors Group for helping me when I needed it most!


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