Canada’s Olympic Committee invests $10 million in safe sport

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Canada’s Olympic Committee pledged $10 million to safe sport initiatives on Saturday.

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“Athletes and sports leaders agree that the current situation in our system is unsustainable,” said COC Chief Executive Officer David Shoemaker. “We all want a safe and accessible system that delivers results on the world stage. To get there, we must work together to find and implement solutions. This post underscores the COC’s commitment to a safe and accessible sports system, now and in the future.”

Shoemaker made the announcement in Montreal during the annual COC meeting, which was attended by COC leadership, representatives from national sports organizations and sports partners.

A wave of athlete activism has swept the country in recent months, as current and former national team gymnasts, boxers, bobsledders and skeleton athletes have called for independent investigations into what they consider to be unsafe or toxic training and competition environments. The group Gymnasts4change has gone public with allegations of systemic verbal, psychological, physical and sexual abuse in their sport.

Federal Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge praised the COC for its contribution to safe sport on Saturday.

“We must continue to work together and build on what has already been done together to ensure our athletes can thrive in a sports environment free from abuse, harassment, discrimination and mistreatment,” she said.

The investment could fund prevention, education and governance initiatives and will also continue the work the COC has been doing to improve mental health support for athletes and staff and increase athlete representation.

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“This is an important announcement by the COC and an encouraging step in the right direction for the entire Canadian sports system,” said Rosie MacLennan, Chair of the COC’s Athletes’ Committee. “In order for athletes to perform at their best, we need a system that is safe, equitable and that puts athletes’ mental and physical health first. This new funding and commitment to working with the athlete community will help make this a priority.”

St-Onge has also called a press conference for Sunday to outline a “set of measures and provide an update on safe sport”.

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