21st annual AthletesCAN Forum: Charmaine Crooks as 2013 Athlete Leadership Award Recipient

Friday, September 20, 2013

(OTTAWA, ON) - AthletesCAN presented Canadian Athletics icon, Charmaine Crooks, with the 9th annual AthletesCAN Leadership Award at the 21st annual AthletesCAN Forum Excellence Celebration in Mississauga, ON.

Sponsored by Purolator Inc., the Leadership Award recognizes the contributions of Canadian athlete leaders and celebrates the importance of athlete representatives and the successes they have achieved through their work as leaders and change agents.

“Purolator would like to congratulate Charmaine Crooks on receiving the 2013 AthletesCAN Leadership Award, says Brian Collins - Manager, Corporate Sponsorship . “Through her continued work with Canada amateur sports and current Olympians, she has shown the same dedication and leadership that made her a decorated five-time Olympian. Generations of Canadian amateur athletes have and will continue to benefit from her knowledge, insight and most importantly leadership.”

Charmaine is a five-time Olympian and Olympic Silver Medalist (1984, 4X400m relay) who represented Canada for close to 20 years in the sport of athletics. As the first Canadian woman to run 800 metres in under two minutes, Charmaine has won Gold medals at the Pan American, Commonwealth, World Cup, and the World Student Games. In 1996, she had the honour of being Canada’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies of the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games, and from 1980-1997, was the 11-time National Champion in the 400m and 800m.

Charmaine’s achievements off the track however, have made the biggest impact. In 1992, she joined a small group of athletes, including Ann Peel, to discuss the creation of an independent Canadian athlete association that would endeavor to ensure the rights of athletes were upheld and to provide athletes with a voice at the decision making tables across sport. That association, today known as AthletesCAN, was founded shortly after and she joined the Board of Directors from 1994 to 1998. She has stayed connected to the organization ever since and most recently was a speaker at our 20th anniversary Forum last year.

“We are very pleased to recognize Charmaine with this award as one of our founding members” says Jasmine Northcott, Executive Director, AthletesCAN. “She has been at the forefront of athlete leadership since her career as one of Canada’s top athletes in the sport of athletics and continues to advocate and support a collective athlete voice domestically and internationally.”

After competing in Atlanta in 1996 - this athlete leader was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission where she played an important role in developing the IOC’s Code of Ethics.

In 2006, Charmaine was presented with the IOC Women and Sport Trophy for the Americas in recognition of her efforts towards supporting gender equity in high-performance sport. In 2009, she was named BC’s Sports Personality of the Year, bestowed on pillars of the community in the area of sport. She is the first woman ever to receive this award. Charmaine has also been named to the CAAWS Most Influential Women List seven times, recognizing her accomplishments and contribution to the sector.

CAAWS is happy to see Charmaine recognized for all her volunteer leadership in sport, says Karin Lofstrom, Executive Director of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport. “She has shown great leadership for many years in areas from athletes having a strong voice around the decision making tables to creating opportunities for girls and women to participate and lead in sport and I’m sure she is not done her work yet.”

A long-time member of the COC’s Executive Committee (now board of directors), she played an integral role in Toronto’s 2008 Olympic Bid and was the longest standing member of VANOC from the initial Bid, through to the Games. Charmaine was vice-chair of the World Olympians Association and has served in various roles with the COC, the founding Foundation Board World Anti-Doping Agency, first appointed Chair of the PASO Athletes Commission and currently Honorary President of Olympians Canada. She was recently appointed to the Board of the Canadian Soccer Association.

“I’m deeply honoured and proud to accept this award from AthletesCAN, an organization that continues to be relevant to all athletes across Canada”, says Charmaine Crooks. “I’d like to dedicate this award to the future generation of Canadian athlete leaders and in particular girls and women in sport. May they all continue to blaze new trails on the field of play and beyond”, she adds. “I am thankful to CAAWS for putting forward my nomination and excited to continue to contribute to sport in the years to come.”

Charmaine is the president and founder of NGU Consultants, a sports marketing, promotion and production company that develops and creates entertainment programming and provides strategic counsel for companies and athletes on a global basis.

On top of all of that, she is a strong supporter of many charitable organizations that focus on women’s, youth and health matters, including the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation and formerly Right to Play where she was on the founding International Board.

It is this rare combination of skills that makes Charmaine Crooks recognizable in the Canadian sport system as a true leader and an individual who will certainly continue to contribute significantly to Canadian sport well into the future.

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