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Beyond the Podium: Team Canada’s Paris 2024 Olympic Journey

Thursday, May 23, 2024

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What does it take to qualify for the biggest multi-sport event on earth? How do you prepare to perform in front of four billion viewers? How do you balance the priorities of 206 National Olympic Committees? And how does Team Canada move more than 350 athletes, with all their equipment and hundreds of support staff and fans around the world every two years?

Join David Shoemaker, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee and Bruny Surin, Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for Paris 2024, alongside Olympian, Pan American Champion, and Paris Qualified Taekwondo athlete Skylar Park, for a peak behind the scenes of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games moderated by veteran CBC Sports anchor Andi Petrillo.

Don’t miss this event at the Empire Club of Canada to experience this moment of patriotism in celebration of Canada’s Olympic achievements and our athletes.

headshot of Skylar Park

Skylar Park

Olympian and Pan American Champion, Team Canada

Making the quarterfinals in her Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020, Skylar has been doing taekwondo since she could walk. Her father (who is also her coach) and grandfather are both taekwondo Masters and a total of 16 family members are black belts, including her two younger brothers, mother, father, grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins — her grandmother says she doesn’t need a black belt because everyone else can protect her.

After earning gold at the 2016 World Taekwondo Junior Championships, Park achieved her first senior highlights in 2019, winning a bronze medal at the World Taekwondo Championships and a silver medal at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. She made her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, where she reached the quarter finals and in 2022 she won three straight gold medals leading up to the Pan American Championships and another gold medal at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

headshot of Devin Heroux

Devin Heroux

CBC Reporter, CBC News and Sports

Devin Heroux reports for CBC News and Sports. He is now based in Toronto, after working first for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

headshot of David Shoemaker

David Shoemaker

Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General, Canadian Olympic Committee

Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, David is an accomplished global sports executive and a trusted name in the worlds of sports business and law. David joined the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) in 2019 after being named Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General. In his role, he oversees the broad scope of operations of the Olympic Movement in Canada including national sport development programs, Team Canada preparation, Olympic bids and events, as well as the commercial and marketing arms of the organization. He works closely with the 52 national sporting organizations to provide the tools and support they need to develop the next generation of Olympians.

Before joining the COC, David spent seven years as the CEO of NBA China, leaving behind a legacy of record revenue growth, expanding partnerships to unprecedented levels, and skyrocketing viewership in China. In his seven years at the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), where he was also President from 2009 to 2011, David was instrumental in the global expansion of women’s professional tennis and part of the team responsible for the historic achievement of equal prize money for women at both the French Open and Wimbledon.

A native of Ottawa, ON, he currently resides in Toronto with his wife Jennifer and their three children. David speaks three languages: English, French and Mandarin Chinese.

headshot of Bruny Surin

Bruny Surin

Chef de Mission, Team Canada at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for Paris 2024

Bruny Surin is a four-time Olympian who teamed with Donovan Bailey, Glenroy Gilbert, Robert Esmie and Carlton Chambers to win 4x100m relay gold at Atlanta 1996. Surin ran the third leg of the final as the Canadians became the first team to ever defeat the United States for the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 4x100m relay. Their time of 37.69 seconds stood as a national record for 20 years.

Surin also won two world titles in the 4x100m relay in 1995 and 1997, which followed a bronze medal in 1993. He stood on the world championship podium twice as an individual, winning 100m silver in 1995 and 1999. To win the latter, he tied the Canadian record of 9.84 seconds that Bailey had run to win 100m gold at Atlanta 1996, a mark that still stands. Surin was twice a world indoor champion in the 60m in 1993 and 1995. He holds the Canadian record of 6.45 seconds in that event. Surin made his Olympic debut at Seoul 1988 as a long jumper. His final Olympic appearance came at Sydney 2000.

Bruny was inducted to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 alongside his Atlanta 1996 relay teammates. Surin served as Team Canada’s Chef de Mission at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires