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Canadian Olympic Foundation Announces Gift from John Bitove and Family to Support Indigenous Athletes

TORONTO (March 14, 2023) – The Canadian Olympic Foundation is pleased to announce a donation of $250,000 from John Bitove and family to establish the Bitove Family Diversity Programs.

Through this gift, the Foundation has created the Bitove Indigenous Awards, an annual bursary program to support Team Canada’s Indigenous athletes. Every year, five athletes are awarded $5,000 each to help with the financial costs of training and competing. In addition, this gift makes possible the Bitove Diversity Internships, awarded to five candidates annually from under-represented groups to gain work experience at the Canadian Olympic Committee. 

“I am thrilled to announce this generous gift from John Bitove and his family,” said Jacqueline Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Foundation and Chief Brand and Commercial Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “John is passionate about our mission to transform Canada through the power of sport. This inspiring donation will help us activate on the Team Canada Impact Agenda, and build a safe, inclusive and barrier-free sport system for more athletes across the country.”

Last year, the COC unveiled the Team Canada Impact Agenda, a commitment to making sport safe, inclusive and barrier-free so more young people can play and stay in sport. These awards are part of that commitment, recognizing the need to lead a more diverse and inclusive Team Canada to podium success. 

“I have been involved in sport for so much of my professional life, and I’m always amazed at how it can bring communities and our country together,” said Bitove. “My family and I hope that through these awards, more people are able to experience the power of sport, and pursue their Olympic dreams.”

Bitove is the Chairman of Obelysk, a diversified holding company investing in and operating companies. In 1993, he founded the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club. In addition to overseeing several other philanthropic initiatives, Bitove currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. 

The Canadian Olympic Foundation began granting Bitove Indigenous Awards in 2021, and the bursary has been received by 10 athletes so far. These include:

2021:
Trinity Ellis (Luge)
Amiel Flett-Brown (Cycling)
Brigette Lacquette (Ice Hockey)
Jocelyne Larocque (Ice Hockey)

2022:
Charles-Étienne Chrétien (Cycling)
Justina Di Stasio (Wrestling)
Margo Erlam (Diving)
Liam Gill (Snowboard)
Alexandria Town (Wrestling)
Eden Wilson (Bobsleigh)

To learn more about the Team Canada Impact Agenda, visit olympic.ca/impact-agenda.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Peter Saltsman
Senior Manager, Public Relations
C: 647-382-6986
E: psaltsman@olympic.ca

Thomas Hall
Director, Communications and Public Relations
C: 514-709-1054
E: thall@olympic.ca

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