Indigenous athletes in B.C. continue to benefit from Vancouver 2010’s Olympic legacy

Feb 21, 2018

viaSport, in partnership with the West Vancouver Community Foundation, has launched a new High Performance Athlete Assistance Grant to assist B.C. amateur athletes of Indigenous ancestry in their pursuit of excellence in sport. The grant, financed through the Aboriginal Sport Youth Legacy Fund (ASYLF), will help offset costs associated with training and competing and allow B.C.’s Indigenous athletes to focus on advancing the skills and confidence needed to progress in their sport.

This endowment was created in 2002 from a partnership of the Province of B.C., the Squamish Nation, Lil’wat Nation, and the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation. The fund was initiated to support Indigenous athletes as a sport legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In 2014, viaSport partnered with the West Vancouver Foundation to ensure the fund could continue to grow and support athletes well beyond 2010.

“Making sport more inclusive and supporting athletes as they pursue their dreams is an important element in building thriving and vibrant communities.  We applaud viaSport for introducing this new funding which will have a lasting impact on Indigenous athletes and their families. We are very proud to be a community partner on this initiative,” said Adine Mees, CEO of the West Vancouver Foundation.

The grant will support high performance Indigenous athletes training and competing at a regional, provincial and national level. Athletes will be eligible to apply for funding up to $2,000.

“Every child in B.C. deserves the chance to benefit from the social, physical and mental health advantages that come from participating in sport,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Our government is committed to making life more affordable for British Columbians. I’m delighted that viaSport and the West Vancouver Community Foundation are working together to create this grant, making high performance sport more accessible for Indigenous youth.” 

The new High Performance Athlete Assistance Grant, launched on the eight year anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, aims to reinforce the tradition of partnership, success and excellence already established by the fund.

“This grant is a testament to the lasting impact of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the partnerships the Games helped build,” said viaSport CEO, Sheila Bouman. “The Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund helped many successful and hardworking Indigenous athletes realize their potential through sport, and we look forward to the new high performance grant doing the same.”

Between 2002 and 2015, more than $2.5 million was invested to develop new programs, to support communities to increase programming for Indigenous youth, and to provide direct financial support to athletes. More than 100 high performance athletes have been supported in that time period, yielding many tangible success stories. Previous High Performance Athlete Assistance Grant recipients have gone on to become university athletes, national team members and coaches, and have achieved success in tournaments and competitions across B.C., Canada, and internationally.