When you pull in a cool couple million dollars plus per year in salary and sponsorship, like many professional athletes do, it’s relatively easy to share the wealth. But despite the fact that many of Canada’s high performance amateur athletes live well below the poverty line for most of their athletic careers, they continue to lead by example and give back. Time is as valuable as money. The presence of an Olympian at an event can most certainly create excitement and encourage others to give more of their time and hopefully even their money to a worthy cause.
For example, in a few days time, a group of approximately 40 national team and Olympic athletes will be donating their time and fund-raising efforts to the United Way of Canada, by taking part in the Enbridge CN Tower Climb in downtown Toronto. Joining 2008 Olympic high jumper and 2010 Commonwealth Games champion Nicole Forrester on the 1776 grueling steps to the top will be Olympic champion kayaker Adam van Koeverden, Olympic silver medalist bobsledder Shelley-Ann Brown, and Paralympic cross-country skier Tyler Mosher, to name just a few.
Another charity that benefits significantly from an Olympic presence are the Ronald McDonald House’s across the country, who are often visited by World figure skating champion Patrick Chan, Olympic champion hockey player Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Olympic silver medalist diver Alexandre Despatie.
Canadian-based Right to Play is an international humanitarian organization that utilizes athletes to serve as global ambassadors who go into some of the most disadvantaged regions of the planet to improve health, foster peace for children and develop life skills through sport and play programs.
These are just a few shining examples of how Canadian athletes continue to lead by example, in so many facets of life.
For more information on sports related charities, please visit SIRC.