A nation inspired

TORONTO – Friday night, Olympic legends join the exclusive group of individuals inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame at the Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony at the Air Canada Centre.

The class of 2012 includes: Jean-Luc Brassard (Freestyle Skiing), Daniel Igali (Wrestling), Beckie Scott (Cross Country Skiing), the 2006 women’s hockey team (Team category), the 2010 men’s hockey team (Team Category), Julie Sauvé (Coach category) and the late Sarah Burke (Builder) were honoured for their outstanding contributions to the Olympic movement in Canada. Past Canadian Olympic Committee President Michael Chambers was also awarded the Canadian Olympic Order.

“I grew up being told by my grandmother that dreams should be a size too big so we could fit into them,” Igali said. “I have dreamt big dreams, since that charge as a ten year old. The biggest of them was to make it to the Olympics, the “big show”, as my grandmother calls it.”

“The medals are in a drawer, the skis went to a museum, and what I cherish the most from nearly two decades of sport are the friendships: the old friends, the new friends, the best friend who became my husband, and remains a best friend,” Scott said. “The adventures, the laughs, the tears, the celebrations and the struggles – moments that were memorable and meaningful because of the people I was with.”

“Although some people use the word “sacrifice” to describe their sport career, I prefer to use the word “privilege” to describe my good fortune and pride representing my country at international events, said Brassard. “Here’s to the Canadian Olympic Movement, and inspiring kids into becoming more active and having a better quality of life.”

“Representing Canada as a hockey player is always a tremendous honor, which also comes with a lot of responsibility,” said Scott Niedermayer, captain of the 2010 men’s hockey team. “Being able to compete and win a gold medal on our home soil made it a once in a lifetime experience. Capping off the best ever performance by not only the Canadian athletes, but also Vancouver and all Canadians, made for an amazing Olympic experience.”

“That was such an important time for us, as a team,” said Hayley Wickenheiser, representing the gold-medal 2006 women’s hockey team. It was our second gold medal in a row, following Salt Lake City, and really established ourselves as the best team in the world.”

“Competing at the Olympics was Sarah’s dream and I am very grateful for this honour, acknowledging Sarah’s accomplishments and her work over the years, to build her sport up to the Olympic level,” said Janice Phelan, mother of Sarah Burke, who was posthumously inducted as a Builder. “This Induction recognizes and validates all her practices, all her falls, her emails, letters, her persistence and fearlessness in tackling both the difficulty of the next jump and the difficulty of the system that wasn’t ready yet to accept her.”

“When I started in synchronized swimming more than 40 years ago, I never imagined the journey would be this long,” Sauvé said. “There have been many obstacles, triumphs and disappointments along the way. I am proud of my contribution to the sport of synchronized swimming and happy to have played a role in its evolution.”

“I thank Canada’s athletes. Your passion for life, for being the best you can be in your sport, inspires me every day to help out, to contribute what I can to having you realize your dreams,” Chambers said.

The 2012 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony is presented by Gold Partners Bombardier, Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment, RBC, Teck and Thomson Reuters.

Net proceeds from the event directly support the Canadian Olympic Team and their quest for Olympic glory through the Canadian Olympic Foundation.