55 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls awarded the 2020 Petro-Canada FACE™ grant
Petro-Canada™ has announced the 55 athlete-coach pairs who will each receive $10,000 in funding to help them along their journey.
The Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACE) Program grants are awarded to athletes who are striving to represent Canada at the Olympic and Paralympic Games but do not yet qualify for government funding. The funds are used for training, equipment, coach education, and competition travel expenses.
Since 1988, Petro-Canada has supported over 3000 athletes and coaches through the FACE Program, providing over $12 million in financial support. This year’s class includes 42 aspiring Olympians and 13 aspiring Paralympians.
Here’s a closer look at some of the FACE class of 2020 athletes:
Mariam Abdul-Rashid won silver in the 100m hurdles at the 2019 Canadian Track and Field Championships. She spent four years competing for the University of Texas, earning Second Team All-American honours in 2018 and 2019.
Among her goals she would like to achieve with coach Tony Jarrett are winning a national title in 2021, qualifying for the Olympic Games and then making an Olympic final. Some of the ways in which the FACE Program funding will assist her are being able to buy groceries that will improve her diet and having sessions with a sports psychologist.
Snowboarder Liam Brearley was a triple medallist at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. While in Lausanne, the then-16-year-old from Gravenhurst, Ontario won slopestyle silver and bronze in both the big air and halfpipe events.
With guidance from coach Andy Stewart, Brearley aims to qualify for pro level events such as the X Games and the snowboarding US Open in upcoming seasons so that he can compete against his idols. The FACE Program funding will help him travel to those and other bigger competitions.
Short track speed skater Florence Brunelle was a two-time bronze medallist at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in January. She left Lausanne with bronze from the women’s 500m and 1000m events.
Just a few weeks later, the 16-year-old from Trois-Rivières, Quebec became only the second Canadian woman in the past decade to win multiple medals at one edition of the ISU World Junior Short Track Championships as she took silver in both the 500m and 1500m.
With the support of her coach Marc-André Monette, she is aiming to represent Canada at a World Cup in the near future, which would get her closer to the Olympic team. Having left her family to move to Montreal for training, the FACE Program funding will be a huge help in paying rent and having the best skates she can.
As surfing gets set to make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, Peter Devries is looking to make a first wave. Devries is well-accomplished, having won the Canadian national championship nine times. The Tofino-based surfer is also the only Canadian to win a major international surfing event, the O’Neill Coldwater Classic in 2009.
With the support of coach Shannon Brown, Devries will continue to evolve as a surfer and person on the road to Tokyo 2020. Devries and Brown have known one another for over a decade, living in the same town and being of similar age. Coach Brown pushes Devries, provides all the little reminders before competition, making him think and focus in the moment.
Surfboards are expensive pieces of equipment that don’t last long, so the FACE Program funding will help Devries have enough boards to be at his best in a wide range of conditions.
Mohab El Nahas took home Canada’s first medal in judo at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru with a bronze medal in the -90 kg category. Earlier in 2019 he had a fifth-place finish at the Pan American Championships, a placement he matched at the IJF Grand Prix event in Montreal.
With the support of coach Jean Pierre Cantin, El Nahas is looking forward to the resumption of competition, with eyes on the IJF Grand Slam in Tokyo in December. El Nahas plans to use the FACE Program funding to help him pay for flights and entry fees to competitions.
Triathlete Amélie Kretz is a FACE grant recipient for the second year in a row. The Rio 2016 Olympian is looking towards qualification for Tokyo 2020.
Kretz, from Ste-Agathe-Des-Monts, Quebec, competed on the ITU World Cup series in 2019, but also represented Canada in the mixed relay – an event that will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. Among her highlights last year were a fourth-place finish in the mixed relay during the World Triathlon Series stop in Nottingham.
With the support of her coach Alex Sereno, Kretz is looking to get back in the top 10 in World Triathlon Series races over the next year. Her ultimate goal is to be on the podium at Paris 2024. The FACE Program funding will help get her to races all over the world where she can earn valuable ranking points towards Tokyo 2020 qualification.
Cross-country skier Xavier McKeever is the latest member of his family to compete for Canada on the international Nordic stage. Being the son of Olympians Robin McKeever and Milaine Thériault and the nephew of Paralympic star Brian McKeever, you could say the Olympic dream runs in his blood.
The 17-year-old from Canmore, Alberta competed at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships the last two years. He achieved a big highlight in March when he and his teammates won silver in the men’s 4x5km relay in Oberwiesenthal, Germany.
With the support of his coach Eric Groeneveld, McKeever hopes to achieve a top 10 performance at the world juniors and qualify to compete at a World Cup. The FACE Program funding will assist him in getting to training camps and races.
Olivier Rioux is 14 years old with a listed height of 7’4″ (225cm) and wears a size 20 shoe. So you shouldn’t be surprised that he is a basketball player. He currently suits up for College St-Jean-Vianney in Montreal. Last year he was invited to play with Real Madrid in a European tournament.
With coach Terry Annulis guiding the way, he hopes to part of the next U-16 Team Canada and compete internationally. The FACE Program funding will go a long way in helping him receive specialized training for big basketball players and visit schools and international programs as he figures out his best future path.
You can find the complete list of this year’s FACE recipients below.
|Athlete Name||Sport||Coach Name|
|Mariam Abdul-Rashid||Athletics||Tony Jarrett|
|Ryan Anderson||Sailing||Lisa Ross|
|Jesse Bachinsky||Para Cross-Country||Kate Boyd|
|Christopher Baldwin||Shooting||Richard Lanning|
|Tess Beasant||Para Alpine Skiing||Jamie McCulloch|
|Charlotte Bolton||Para Athletics||Jag Rai|
|Jacob Brayshaw||Para Swimming||Renate Terpstra|
|Liam Brearley||Snowboard||Andy Stewart|
|Florence Brunelle||Short Track Speed Skating||Marc-Andre Monette|
|Samuel Cabral||Field Hockey||Inderpal Sehmbi|
|Samantha Carter||Ski Cross||Adam Bourns|
|Rachel Chan||Badminton||Jennifer Lee|
|Kerrian Chunlaud||Freestyle Skiing – Moguls||Freddy Mooney|
|Justine Clement||Alpine Skiing||Francis Royal|
|Natalie Coughlin||Skeleton||Richard Coughlin|
|Joel Demaere||Judo||Russel Gallant|
|Oliver Desrosiers||Fencing||Gilbert Gélinas|
|Peter Devries||Surfing||Shannon Brown|
|Anna Dunn-Suen||Beach Volleyball||Josh Nichol|
|Mohab El Nahas||Judo||Jean Pierre Cantin|
|Cooper Emin||Speed Skating||Mark Wild|
|Nilton Heredia||Para Athletics||Jean Laroche|
|Tanner Horgan||Curling||Steve Gould|
|Grace Hu||Fencing||Andrew Hu|
|Emily Johnston||Cycling – Mountain Bike||Jeff Ain|
|Ashur Jordan||Alpine Skiing||Nick Cooper|
|Josipa Kafadar||Taekwondo||Daniel Thornton|
|Jackson Kinniburgh||Cycling – Track||Tanya Dubnicoff|
|Amélie Kretz||Triathlon||Alex Sereno|
|Riley Lavorato||Cycling – BMX||Brendan Arnold|
|Logan Leach||Para Alpine Skiing||David White|
|Amanda Lee||Luge||Guntis Rekis|
|Connor MacMillan||Water Polo||Nikola Marirc|
|Xavier McKeever||Cross-Country Skiing||Erik Groeneveld|
|Olivia Meier||Para Badminton||Elliot Beals|
|Kyle Murray||Skeleton||Quin Sekulich|
|Micky Papa||Skateboarding||Adam Higgins|
|Clémence Paré||Para Swimming||Mike Edey|
|Kate Pennyfather||Canoe/Kayak – Sprint||Adam Oldershaw|
|Brandon Perger||Wheelchair Rugby||Trevor Hirshfield|
|Christina Picton||Para Cross-Country||Patti Kitler|
|Olivier Rioux||Basketball||Terry Annulis|
|Mael Rivard||Canoe/Kayak – Slalom||Michal Staniszewski|
|Adam Runnalls||Biathlon||Justin Wadsworth|
|Stefanie Schoenberger||Bobsleigh||Trevor Wight|
|Nathan Shuh||Gymnastics – Trampoline||David Ross|
|Ethan Small||Karate||Antonio Terra|
|Megan Smith||Wheelchair Basketball||Simon Cass|
|Maya Stephens||Athletics||Aliann Pompey|
|Leanne Taylor||Para Triathlon||Carolyn Murray|
|Marion Thénault||Freestyle Skiing – Aerials||Rémi Bélanger|
|Michael Trauner||Para Canoe||Joel Hazzan|
|Loïc Tremblay||Diving||Oliver Duchesneau|
|Stephane Tremblay||Ski Jumping||Tadeusz Bafia|
|Wendy Zhang||Badminton||Darryl Yung|