Our Story

AthletesCAN serves an important and unique purpose in sport. Led by a committed group of current and retired national team athletes - AthletesCAN benefits from a rich history.

Over two decades ago, passionate trailblazers including three-time World Indoor Championship bronze medalist and Pan Am Champion Ann Peel (Race Walking); two-time Commonwealth Games Champion and two-time Pan Am Games silver medalist Dan Thompson (Swimming); ‘Crazy Canuck’ and Olympic bronze medalist Steve Podborski (Alpine Skiing); 1988 Olympian, Heather Clarke (Rowing); 2-time Olympic Champion Kay Worthington (Rowing); 1984 Olympian, Sandra Levy (Field Hockey); 1984 and 1988 Olympian, Shelley Steiner (Fencing), Tour de France Women’s Champion, Pan Am Games bronze medallist and 2012 and 2016 Olympic coach, Denise Kelly (Cycling); and former CEO of Freestyle Canada Bruce Robinson, came together to challenge the Canadian sport system. They identified the need for and founded an independent body, then known as the Canadian Athletes Association, that would represent ALL national team athletes as a stronger collective voice on key issues and initiatives in sport.  These early days helped to build an increasingly athlete-centered sport system and provided hundreds of athletes with the opportunity to contribute in a number of important ways.

Since then, AthletesCAN has invested in athlete leadership development through effective representation and education. The organization has created resources to build and formalize athlete feedback mechanisms across the sport system. As a result of strengthening strategic partnerships both within and outside of the system, AthletesCAN has continued to pioneer innovative ways to ensure inclusive decision-making by informing, educating, and advocating for an athlete-centered sport system.