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Paige Crozon raises arms and celebrates during the FIBA 3X3 Basketball World Cup 2022 (Photo: FIBA)FIBA

Murphy Family Award helps turn athlete potential into Olympic possibility

When the Canadian women’s national 3×3 basketball team is on the court, Paige Crozon’s five-year-old daughter, Poppy, can often be heard cheering her mother on in the stands, yelling “Lightning fast, Mommy!” or “Shoot it!” from the sidelines.

And when she isn’t able to physically join her mother at basketball tournaments around the world, Poppy is rooting for her from behind a screen.

“I have been so fortunate to have her cheering for me,” Crozon says. “She has humbly given herself the title of ‘Coach’.”

Crozon gave birth to her daughter in the fall of 2018.

Only half a year later, the International Basketball Federation introduced 3×3 women’s basketball to the world stage and Crozon found herself back in the heat of the sport, traveling to a different destination around the world every two weeks. 

Crozon says that while she is grateful for the structure and flexibility that 3×3 basketball offers to allow her to continue to compete as an athlete and parent, the balancing act of a national team athlete and a mother has its challenges.

“I am a single mom that works two full-time jobs and is training for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.  With the travel involved in my sport, it can be difficult to be away and to take so much time off of work.”

In their first season, the women’s 3×3 team was self-funded, with each player contributing over $20,000 from their own pockets in an effort to earn Canada a berth in the Tokyo Olympic Games. They just missed the cut.

To pay the bills and stay connected to basketball, Crozon accepted the roles of Assistant Coach for the University of Lethbridge Women’s Basketball Team and General Manager of Living Skies Indigenous Basketball League in addition to training as a national team athlete herself.

The Canadian national women’s 3×3 team has come a long way since then. In 2022, the team won the Women’s Series title and the 2023 season saw them win at six FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series stops.

Poppy was able to join the team on the road for three tournaments last season.

Still, Crozon says that with financial support, she would be able to find more of a balance between training, working full-time and raising her daughter. 

This year, Crozon is one of ten Team Canada athletes receiving the Canadian Olympic Foundation’s Murphy Family Award.

The Murphy Family Award, created by Glenn and Stacey Murphy, gives promising Team Canada athletes the peace of mind to focus more fully on their training, a welcome reprieve from outside financial demands. 

Recipients are well-established in their sport with a high international ranking and a strong probability of representing Team Canada at an upcoming Olympic Games.

“The support of the Murphy Family Award will provide me with more time: to train, with my daughter, and to give back to my community by providing opportunities to youth that typically experience many barriers into sport,” says Crozon.

“I hope to show other young girls that the strength within us is greater than any obstacles that might be before us. These past few years have been challenging in many ways, but I am so proud to show my daughter the courage and resiliency it takes to pursue your dreams.”

Canadian boxer and Olympian Tammara Thibeault and sprint canoer Katie Vincent join Crozon on the list of 2023 recipients in the third edition of Murphy Family Award. All three athletes share the motivation of representing Canada as a woman in sport and paving the way for young girls to look up to.

Thibeault, whose dream to become a boxing champion became possible when women’s boxing was first added to the Olympic program in 2012, says donor funding opens doors for not only her, but women in boxing in general.

“Donor support is critical because all these elements – training, travel, competition – are necessary to get where I want to go and bring women’s boxing with me,” she says. 

“This extra funding will allow me to continue to break barriers and elevate women’s boxing in Canada, not only for me but for the young athletes that come after me.”

“I want to continue to push the envelope of Canadian women in sport and do our nation proud. It has always been my dream to become an Olympic champion, and although bronze feels very good, I want to go for gold,” says Vincent. 

“With the support from the Murphy Family Award, I believe I will be able to move closer toward that dream.”

The Canadian Olympic Foundation is proud to announce the 2023 recipients of the Murphy Family Award:

Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, OLY — Judo (Montreal, QC)

Charlie Cavanagh — Boxing (Saint John, NB)

Maude Charron, OLY — Weightlifting (Rimouski, QC)

Paige Crozon — 3×3 Basketball (Humboldt, SK)

Sarah Douglas, OLY — Sailing (Burlington, ON)

Kirsten Edwards Rowing (Port Moody, BC)

Ana Godinez Gonzalez — Wrestling (Burnaby, BC)

Emy Legault Triathlon (L’Île Perrot, QC)

Katherine Plouffe, OLY — 3×3 Basketball (Edmonton, AB)

Tammara Thibeault, OLY — Boxing (Shawinigan, QC)

Katie Vincent, OLY — Canoe Sprint (Mississauga, ON)