CIBC congratulates Canadian Parapan Am Team on their #PanAmazing performance

Grit, determination of athletes inspire Canadians, challenge societal perceptions

TORONTO, Aug. 16, 2015 /CNW/ -  CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM), Premier Partner of the Canadian Parapan Am Team, is thrilled to congratulate Team Canada for finishing second in the overall medal count at the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games, with its best-ever performance.

"CIBC congratulates Team Canada for making us proud and uniting us in passion and celebration," says Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Chief Risk Officer and Diversity & Inclusion Champion, CIBC. "We salute you and all of the athletes from across the Americas who have so inspired us and challenged societal perceptions about disabilities. The indomitable spirit and sheer athleticism on display during the Games has truly been a honour and privilege for all of us to witness and applaud."

As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, CIBC had two key goals: To help bring the Games to life for the athletes, visitors and Canadians; and, to help up-and-coming athletes achieve their dreams of representing Canada on the world stage, while inspiring the next generation of athletic champions.

Recognizing the dedication and sacrifice that it takes to become an elite-level amateur athletes, CIBC, in partnership with AthletesCAN and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, developed the CIBC Team Next program that takes corporate sponsorship in Canada beyond the simple writing of a cheque.

The 67 athletes in this $2-million three-year program, officially unveiled in November 2013, have unprecedented access to mentorship from nine of Canada's top high-performance athletes: Benoit Huot, Bruny Surin, Josh Cassidy, Mark de Jonge, Kara Lang, Kyle Shewfelt, Mary Spencer, Simon Whitfield and the Assistant Chef de Mission of the Canadian Parapan Am Team Stephanie Dixon.

"There is no other sponsorship program in the Canadian sport system right now that supports the holistic development of an athlete like CIBC Team Next," says Ashley LaBrie, Interim Executive Director, AthletesCAN, the association of Canada's national team athletes. "AthletesCAN believes that leadership drives performance and CIBC is providing our up-and-coming athletes with the skills they need to succeed in sport and in life."

Team Canada broke a national record by winning the most medals and gold medals ever during a Parapan Am Games. Aurelie Rivard, a 19-year-old swimming phenom from Quebec, captured not only six gold medals in the Parapan Am pool but also the hearts of Canadians. The 15 CIBC Team Next athletes, who made up seven per cent of Canadian Parapan Am Team, won a total of 24 medals, representing 14 per cent of Canada's total medal count. Jean-Michel Lavallière, 25, of Quebec City took home the most medals on CIBC Team Next, with five silver Parapan Am medals in the pool.

"Our Canadian athletes delivered performances of a lifetime at these Parapan Am Games in front of their friends and family," says Ms. Dixon. "As Assistant Chef de Mission for Team Canada, I am incredibly proud of Team Canada and thrilled to see CIBC Team Next athletes strongly contributing to that success."

"Though funding is very important, I believe the accomplishments of the CIBC Team Next athletes is due in large part to the additional elements like mentorshp which set this program apart," she says. "I believe in the importance of mentorship. We provide a support system for the athletes with advice, guidance and wisdom from our experience, but we're also learning from them. Their grit, will to excel, to overcome adversity, will inspire the next generation of world-class athletes."

CIBC thanks Canadians for their support of the Games. The bank's brand ambassadors delivered surprise and delight moments, including tickets and cheer gear, to over 38,000 Parapan Am fans and spectators. At PANAMANIA, presented by CIBC, an estimated 3,500 people this past week enjoyed the accessible swing on the CIBC Symphony of Swings at Nathan Phillips Square and over 17,000 people rode the swings during both Games. The bank also served more than 1,000 Canadian Smoothies to Parapan Am athletes at the CIBC Banking Café.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC on our corporate website at www.cibc.com/ca/media-centre/.

About CIBC's Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Sponsorship

As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games CIBC is committed to enriching Canadian communities through the power of sport. Through our investments we will create a lasting legacy by funding next-generation athletes, encouraging the volunteer spirit of our employees, helping finance landmark venues and engaging our diverse communities while fusing sport with arts and culture. To learn more visit www.cibc.com/ca/features/panamgames.html.

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Image with caption: "CIBC Team Next's Jean-Michel Lavallière took home five silver medals at the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games. (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150816_C9472_PHOTO_EN_44139.jpg

Image with caption: "Canada defeats the U.S. to win gold in wheelchair rugby. Far left: CIBC Team Next's Cody Caldwell. (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150816_C9472_PHOTO_EN_44140.jpg

For further information:

Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications, at 416-784-6699 or e-mail: Caroline.VanHasselt@cibc.com


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