Canadian Olympic Committee Introduces Young Participants at International Olympic Academy

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) will send two young participants to the International Olympic Academy’s 51st International Session for Young Participants in Olympia, Greece for the next two weeks: Jacqueline Deschenes and Sylvain Leclerc.

Deschenes, from Bridgenorth, Ont., is the Executive Director of the Ontario Speed Skating Association. She attended her first Olympic Games as a volunteer at Speed Skating House in Vancouver in 2010. Deschenes is also a member of Speed Skating Canada, the Canadian Curling Association and Ringuette Canada and participated in the Olympic Academy of Canada in 2006.

“I have wanted to attend the International Olympic Academy since I first learned of it while completing my undergraduate degree,” said Deschenes. “Attending the 2011 Young Participants session of the IOA is the culmination of that small spark of a dream I had ten years ago and I could not be more thrilled to finally experience this phenomenal program.”

Leclerc lives in Montreal, has attended two Olympic Games. He was a translator for the Beijing 2008 Organizing Committee and covered the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games as a producer for Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium. Leclerc was also a producer for Réseau des sports’ coverage of the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax.

“Why the International Olympic Academy? To continue to learn more about the movement, its story, its mission, its ideals. For a passionate person like me, being able to study Olympism for 17 days is another unique professional experience, and I want to take advantage of any second spent on Greek soil.”
Canadians can follow Deschenes’ and Leclerc’s Olympic Academy experience with daily blog updates and photos on, short updates on the Canadian Olympic Team Twitter feed (@CDNOlympicTeam) and Facebook page (

The International Olympic Academy’s International Session for Young Participants is a two-week gathering of people aged 20-35 in the ancestral home of the Olympic Games with the goal of educating and motivating young people from around the world to promote Olympic Ideals and educate others in their own countries.

The Session’s curriculum consists of lectures, group discussions and presentations by participants, as well as outings to archaeological digs. Participants are also exposed to extra-curricular activities, like athletic competition, artistic performances and numerous social events.