On Wednesday, October 28, Team Canada Champion Chats will hold its final live chat of 2020 featuring three-time Olympic champion Tessa Virtue and nine-time Paralympic champion Benoît Huot as hosts. Eight Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes will bring their experiences in leadership, teamwork and community from sport to the virtual classroom by speaking live to kids, parents and teachers. Video clips from the event will be available here.
As the finale of three live chats in 2020 made available for Canadian students, Team Canada athletes Ohenewa Akuffo (Wrestling), Carmelina Moscato (Soccer), Jessica Tuomela (Para Triathlon) and Amanda Rummery (Para Athletics) will join host Tessa Virtue for a live chat in English. Benoît Huot will then host a live chat in French featuring Vincent Marquis (Freestyle Skiing), Kimberly Hyacinthe (Athletics), Guillaume Ouellet (Para Athletics), and Mélanie Labelle (Wheelchair Rugby). The athletes will share lessons learned through their experience in sport and will answer questions from Canadians across the country tuning in.
After missing qualification for London 2012, sprinter Kimberly Hyacinthe was named to the Canadian Olympic Team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but withdrew due to injury just a few days prior to travelling to Rio. A relentless belief in herself through an unconventional year of training during the pandemic following a career filled with adversity continues to fuel Kim’s drive on her extended road to Tokyo. Hyacinthe, who often does speaking engagements at schools, is excited about the opportunity to speak to kids through this online program.
“I often talk to students in schools, and I thought that this was an interesting and exciting opportunity to chat with them virtually,” said Hyacinthe. “What I would like to convey to them is really, truly believing in yourself and your capabilities. There’s a lot of people that don’t see your vision and if you truly want something, you just have to believe in yourself.”
Jessica Tuomela, who is visually impaired, is adding to her legacy as one of the nation’s top Para athletes. Already a three-time Paralympian in swimming (2000, 2004, 2008), she took several years off and grew her career outside of sport before her desire to compete and train again brought her back into the high performance world. Adding biking and running to her repertoire, she is now one of Canada’s best Para triathletes with a goal of competing at next summer’s Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“This is a really unique way to connect with students from all over Canada, even more so during the pandemic, and I’m excited to hear their questions,” said Tuomela. “The topics for this chat, like teamwork and legacy, are so important to helping kids decide who they want to be and how they can contribute to others in their community, in ways big and small that all make an impact. In whatever way sharing my own story and experiences can help or encourage others, I’m always happy to do it.”
Wednesday’s live chats follow the release of eight video lessons and curriculums – one from each athlete – for teachers and students on social and emotional learning themes. To provide support to students and teachers facing adversity throughout the pandemic, the curriculums have centred around leadership, teamwork, community and legacy, focusing on how students can become leaders in the community and work together during challenging times.
Team Canada Champion Chats, a partnership between the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Classroom Champions, is a national education program designed to empower Canadian students to focus on themes including embracing challenges, mental health, diversity and inclusion, achieving goals, and ultimately become a champion in their community. Students on Wednesday’s live chat have already watched video challenges from each of the athletes on a specific theme. This is their first opportunity to connect directly with the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, providing an unforgettable experience.
Teachers, parents, and students can still register for Wednesday’s chat and access the lesson plans by visiting championchats.olympic.ca. Members of the general public can also register to access the live chat – the English chat will take place live at 12:30 p.m. ET here and French live at 2:30 p.m. ET here.
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