Canadian Olympic Committee Launches #OneTeam LGBTQ PSA To Strengthen Message Of Inclusion In Sport

#OneTeam Ambassadors stand up for inclusion in sport

TORONTO, June 23, 2015 /CNW/ - On Tuesday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) launched its first ever #OneTeam LGBTQ inclusion in sport Public Service Announcement (PSA), documenting the challenges that featured athletes faced growing up and competing in sport while being closeted. The PSA is an informative and emotionally-charged story, exploring the theme of inclusion, using powerful messages from athletes during a series of in-depth interviews. The idea for this video originated as a way to better empower teachers, parents and coaches with the tools to speak directly to young people on the topic of inclusiveness in sport.

The #OneTeam video project was led by the COC's production and education teams, in conjunction with Triple Threat Entertainment to not only amplify the message of inclusion in sport, but share the Canadian Olympic journey in an unprecedented way. The video and messaging were driven by the athletes, who shared raw insights and opened up on personal topics, including their struggles of acceptance and their hopes for the next generation of athletes. This culminates in an authentic, visceral narrative showing Canadian Olympians at their most vulnerable moments.

Nine marquee #OneTeam ambassadors are featured in the PSA, alongside many other supporters and collaborators. The nine ambassadors include: Anastasia Bucsis, Connor Taras, Curt Harnett, Eric Mitchell, Hank Palmer, Jason Burnett, Rosie Cossar, Rudi Swiegers and Sam Sendel.

The video is timely. Today is International Olympic Day and the COC is committed to ensuring it is a leader internationally in the discussion of inclusivity and equality in sport. Olympic Day is an opportunity for Canadians to get out and try sport and learn about the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect. Through the #OneTeam initiative the COC is determined to make sport a safer environment for all.

The PSA continues to command the COC to take unprecedented steps to protect and support LGBTQ athletes, youth and coaches in sport and schools. Seven months ago, the COC's #OneTeam program was announced, alongside partners Egale and You Can Play. The initiatives announced at PrideHouse Toronto included entering into a partnership with leading LGBTQ organizations, updating its anti-discrimination language within the COC Articles and introducing LGBTQ-specific educational resources for its national Canadian Olympic School Program. This #OneTeam PSA is an example of the work being done by Canadian Olympians to push the LGBTQ dialogue further. It also captures the work that still needs to be done to ensure athletes are safe and included in classrooms and locker rooms across the country.

QUOTES

"Seven months ago, the Canadian Olympic Committee launched its #OneTeam LGBTQ Inclusion in Sport program and today we see an extension of that hit the airwaves across Canada with our PSA. This brings us one step closer to sharing the #OneTeam mantra with as many Canadians as we can, ensuring that inclusion for all athletes is a message that is communicated across our great country."

Chris Overholt, CEO, Canadian Olympic Committee

"This is another key chapter in the story of our brand. We are shining a bright spotlight on the critically important issue of inclusiveness with a powerful and emotional TV spot. We are proud of this digital short, our Team Canada athletes, and our support of the LGBTQ community through #OneTeam."

Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee

"The COC is really leading the charge on LGBTQ inclusion in sport and this PSA takes that effort to the next level. The message is clear: we are all human and our personal experiences can affect our ability to perform on the field of play. This video reinforces the importance of friendship and respect and how these values ensure all athletes have the chance to be the best they can be."

Mark Tewksbury, two-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medallist and Canada's Chef de Mission at the London 2012 Olympic Games

"It was an honour to be involved with this PSA and it is an excellent step in helping us spread the message of LGBTQ inclusion in sport across Canada. I applaud the COC for their leadership on this program."

Anastasia Bucsis, two-time Olympian

About the Canadian Olympic School Program

The COSP seeks to recreate the excitement of the Olympic Movement in the classroom and throughout schools. The resources are aimed at sparking discussions about shared values, telling stories that inspire and encourage students to work together to find creative solutions to suggested challenges and current issues. Written by teachers, for teachers, the modules are pedagogically sound, classroom friendly and adaptable.

The COSP has engaged Canadian students in the Olympic Movement since 1987, inspiring students to achieve their personal best through Olympian stories, activities, movement skills, podcasts, case studies and project packs.


SOURCE COC

Video with caption: "Video: #OneTeam: Athletes stand up for inclusion in sport ". Video available at: https://youtu.be/vhsYf__KQcE

Image with caption: "Anastasia Bucsis, Sochi 2014 Olympian, #OneTeam Ambassador (CNW Group/COC)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150623_C9833_PHOTO_EN_43744.jpg

For further information:

Canadian Olympic Committee:

Devin Heroux, Manager, Media Relations
Tel: 416-324-5020/ Cell: 416-788-6527
Email: dheroux@olympic.ca

Cherry Ye, Coordinator, Communications
Tel: 416-324-4123 / Cell: 416-427-4341
Email: cye@olympic.ca

Carl Vallée, Executive Director, Communications
Tel: 514 861-3702 / Cell: 514-755-1987
Email: cvallee@olympic.ca

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