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STRIVE: The Next Gen is soaring to new heights

Don’t let the name Sommer fool you, this girl is all about the snow! Slopestyle and Big Air snowboarder Sommer Gendron has been dreaming of becoming an Olympian since the age of 6, and with the increase in Next Gen funding that she’s received, she’s been able to put her everything into reaching podium in 2026.

“It’s such an honour to represent Canada on the world stage,” Sommer explains about how she feels at competitions. “I’m really proud and I learn so much from how all the different countries compete against each other.”

For athletes like Sommer, international competitions are vital to their Olympic journey and come at a huge cost, often so large that athletes like Sommer have to forfeit going to them. Last year, through the impact of Next Gen funding, Sommer was able to travel to Cardrona, New Zealand for the 2018 Junior World Championships. Going in as the 10th ranked snowboarder in Canada she was able to focus solely on her sport and made Canada proud as she placed an impressive 2nd in Big Air and 3rd in Slopestyle. International competitions allow our Canadian athletes to compete on different courses and hone their skills against the world’s best, building them into the champions of tomorrow.

READ: Next Gen Initiative to power aspiring Olympians for future success

Through additional funding Sommer and 11 others on the Next Gen team now have 2 full time coaches, something they didn’t have previously, which provides support while traveling, and the advantage of consistent training.  Dedicated coaching helps propel Sommer to new heights, like her 1st place finish in Big Air at the Air Nation Nationals in Calgary, helping her jump from 10th place in Canada to her current 4th place. With access to more competitions and the top coaching she needs to succeed, Sommer is soaring into her best year yet, and even closer to her Olympic dreams.

Thanks to increased funding from donors like you to the Canadian Olympic Foundation, Sommer has been able to continue on her quest to the Olympic Winter Games.

To help more athletes like Sommer reach their Olympic dreams, you can donate to the Canadian Olympic Foundation here.