I have been involved in many battles over the years since I started boxing at the age of 16, but my current battle is one of the fiercest yet. I am a two-time Pan Am Games champion and have won the Canadian National Boxing Title ten times. For the past several months I have been juggling my third year liberal arts studies to try to give back to the community that has supported me in numerous ways. I have been volunteering out of the ring with about a dozen other leaders in sport, media, and the community – all giving our time to bring the 2021 Canada Games to Waterloo Region.
This is a tough battle, so I’m looking for the support of the UWaterloo community. We are battling Ottawa, Niagara Region and Sudbury – and the competition couldn’t be tighter because all of these communities know what we know – that the Games are an amazing opportunity. The Canada Games come with an investment of $6 million dollars in sport and recreation facilities from the federal and provincial governments to the winning city. This money will allow us to maintain and upgrade our existing community facilities so that we can host the games, and we would be able to use the updated facilities for decades to come. The Games have a 50 year track record that is second to none. They have never run a financial deficit and have a history of generating more than 100 million dollars in economic activity.
For those who don’t know, the Canada Games is like a mini-Olympics, and many star athletes got their start here. Hockey superstars Sidney Crosby and Hayley Wickenheiser, boxer Lennox Lewis, sprint star Andre De Grasse, and NBA legend Steve Nash, are just a few of the big names.
However, the Canada Games aren’t all about sport. There is something for everyone. There is a physical activity challenge to encourage our school children to be more active. There is an 18 day arts and culture festival. The University of Waterloo will be involved as the host venue for wrestling. For University of Waterloo students, there will be internships, co-op placements and volunteer opportunities as we welcome 4 500 athletes, coaches and officials here from every Province and Territory.
The University community got behind me and supported my Mandy Madness campaign while I was at the Olympics in Rio. I would like to encourage everyone to do the same to help us win the right to host the Canada Games. I am personally asking you (yes, you) to get involved in any way you can to help our entire region with his incredible opportunity.
Our community spirit and support is expected to be one of the determining factors for the Canada Games Selection Committee. If we win, I encourage you to get involved. You’ll gain valuable experience like me from a major event happening right here in our backyard.