Celebrating the legacy of Canadian Olympians
While Olympians have different stories and journeys, the potential in their legacies is very much the same. Through the power of sport and the Olympic values, their legacy comes with the critical opportunity to create positive social change and build stronger communities through the Olympic values. To celebrate Canadian Olympians using their legacy to lead vital community projects, the Canadian Olympic Committee launched the OLY Legacy Grant in 2019.
Amongst the five inaugural recipients was Carolyn Trono, an Olympic rower who competed at Los Angeles 1984. Carolyn received the grant for her impressive work with the Winnipeg’s Newcomer Sport Academy, a program that provides low income, refugee newcomer youth and their families with quality multi-sport programming using Long Term Athlete Development and True Sport Principles. Through sport and physical literacy, families are introduced to Canadian culture using activities to improve health, fitness and overall well-being. The initiative leverages the power of sport to assist and support newcomers as they adapt and integrate into Winnpieg and their new environment in Canada.
“We are beginning to build connections, bridges and trust within various ethno-cultural communities. This work highlights there are gaps in access and awareness between our mainstream sport system and those who are not present in that system,” explained Carolyn, who also serves as the Director of Quality Sport Development for the Sport for Life Society.
From 2016-2019, Carolyn’s initiative provided quality sport and physical literacy programs for over 250 children and youth ages 4-15. During that time, they trained newcomer youth leaders to coach and be employed in our program and provided numerous opportunities for community connections including participation in local sport events, newcomer volunteer activities and youth being registered for sport teams in their neighborhoods.
Using the funding from her OLY Legacy Grant, the program was able to support 90 additional newcomers in the Winnipeg community by involving them in sporty activities where they interacted and played with the locals. Carolyn also organized gatherings where people could share their story and explain how important sport is to their settling into Winnipeg and quadrupled participation in her girls program. The girls are trying and learning new skills for soccer, badminton, fencing, skating and swimming.
The Winnipeg Newcomer Sport Academy continues to make a positive impact on the lives of newcomer youth and families – something that continues to drive Carolyn’s passion for her work.
“Sport can create a space and place for social inclusion and sense of belonging. The smiles and confidence we see on the faces of the children and their families is worth so much!”
For more information on Winnipeg Newcomer Sport Academy, please contact Carolyn Trono.