Olympic Role Models Speak Out to Inspire Canadian Girls and Young Women to Get Active

OTTAWA – Engaging girls and young women in sport is the first step on a journey to a more fulfilling, confident life was the key takeaway during a special event at which five dynamic female Olympians from both summer and winter sports shared their inspiring stories of how sport and physical activity positively impacted their lives.

Hosted by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) the luncheon was both the official launch of the Canadian Olympic School Programs newest classroom resource, which was co-created with CAAWS, Give Your Everything: Get Active, as well as the launch of the new CAAWS website.

Olympians Isabelle Charest (Short-Track Speed Skating), Jennifer Botterill (Hockey), Andréanne Morin (Rowing), Mary Spencer (Boxing) and Rosie MacLennan (Trampoline) as well as CAAWS Executive Director Karin Lofstrom and COC Board Member Martha Deacon were on hand at the event.

“Growing up in a sport-oriented family made it a totally natural thing for me to want to be active,” said London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist Rosie MacLennan. “But I know that lots of girls today don’t necessarily grow up in that kind of environment which is why it’s so important that they have other positive role models to show them what an incredible difference getting active can make in their lives. That’s what this education program is all about.”

“Thanks to organizations like CAAWS, Canada is already a leading, barrier-breaking nation for the involvement of women in sport,” said Caroline Assalian, Chief Sport Officer for the COC and multiple honouree on the CAAWS Most Influential Women in Sport List. “That said, we have so much more to do and this educational resource is just one of our initiatives. The COC is very proud to be working with CAAWS and so many of our outstanding female Olympians to help inspire more girls and young women to get active and embrace the power of sport in their own lives.”

“Making sport and physical activity a part of your life can lead you to some incredible places; physically, emotionally and geographically,” said London 2012 silver medallist Andréanne Morin. “I think we should be doing everything possible to create opportunities for girls and young women to become engaged in sport and taking that lesson into our classrooms across Canada is a great step.”

“CAAWS is very excited to be celebrating International Women’s Day by partnering with the COC to launch the Canadian Olympic School module inspiring girls and young women to be active as well as hosting Women and Leadership workshops in Ottawa, Halifax and Vancouver,”  said Karin Lofstrom, CAAWS Executive Director.  “It is a great opportunity to have these five female Olympian role models sharing their stories with us as we continue to work to create more opportunities for girls and women to participate and lead in sport and physical activity.”

Fewer than one in twenty girls and young women currently get the recommended amount of daily physical activity, while less than one in ten boys accomplish the same.  The Canadian Olympic School Program’s latest classroom module: Give Your Everything: Get Active, includes a classroom module, a teacher’s guide and targeted articles to help parents, teachers, coaches and youth leaders help engage girls and young women, as well as boys and young men, in the tangible benefits of getting and staying active.

Give Your Everything: Get Active was drafted by educational experts in collaboration with CAAWS. The module, along with additional resources is available to download and for use free of charge at olympicschool.ca.

The renewed Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) website is available to be viewed at caaws.ca.

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Canadian Olympic Committee Media Office:      
Jane Almeida, Manager, Media Relations
Tel: 416-324-4120 / Cell: 416-540-1788
Email: jalmeida@olympic.ca

Dimitri Soudas, Executive Director, Communications
Tel: 416-324-4136 / Cell: 289-388-6419
Email: dsoudas@olympic.ca

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS):
Karin Lofstrom, Executive Director
Tel: 613-562-5667 x6043 / Cell 613-769-4254
Email: klofstrom@caaws.ca

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