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CAAWS Names 2005 List of Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity

January 19, 2006 (Ottawa, ON.) – The 2005 list of the Most Influential Canadian Women in Sport and Physical Activity includes women new to the list, returnees from previous years, and a new feature called “the ones to watch”. The list is compiled by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS). Twenty women were named to the 2005 list, and two emerging leaders were added as ones to watch. It recognizes women who have made a significant impact as athletes, administrators, advocates, board members, coaches, executives, medical doctors, officials, policy makers and volunteers.

This is the fourth time CAAWS has announced its Most Influential Women list. In presenting the 2005 names, Winnipeg’s Theresa Harvey Pruden Chair of the CAAWS Board of Directors reflected on the spectrum of women named. “This impressive group certainly demonstrates the diversity of roles that women fulfil in sport and physical activity in Canada. These women exercise their influence in many different ways, and in many different types of organizations from Special Olympics to International Olympic involvement, and from parks and recreation to the elite level of sport. They are a blend of volunteers, athletes and career women, who have inspired others with their accomplishments and made an indelible mark to improve both the participation in and leadership of Canadian sport and physical activity.”

Three athletes were named to the list after significant years in 2005: water polo’s Ann Dow, speed skater and world record holder Cindy Klassen, and first-year apprentice jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson. Others on the list for the first time come from a wide-range of backgrounds including Sonia Denoncourt who trains international soccer officials, philanthropist Shirley Green, administrators Theresa Ross and Sheryn Posen and speed skating coach Xiuli Wang. Dr. Margo Mountjoy was named for her work at the international level in sport medicine, while Suzanne Coffey, Peggy Gallant and Tricia Smith were recognized for national level volunteer work in sport. The women organizers behind one of the largest sports event in Canada in 2005 were recognized as a group for their contribution to the Canada Summer Games, held in Regina.

Returning to the list for a fourth time were two Vancouver-based women, Charmaine Crooks and Marion Lay. Others who have been named to the list before, and return in 2005 are Lilo Ljubisic, Anne Merklinger, Chantal Petitclerc and Cathy Priestner Allinger. The two women named to the new category of “Ones to Watch” both moved into new coaching positions in 2005, Laryssa Biesenthal with Rowing Canada, and Tanya Dubnicoff in BMX cycling.

Harvey Pruden outlined why CAAWS compiles its annual list of influential women. “Other end-of-year lists may focus strictly on athletic accomplishments, or the recognized power brokers in the sports world. The CAAWS’ list reflects how women work, often collaboratively, often at the volunteer level, or in a shared, co-operative manner. It acknowledges the influence that women weave through the fabric of our society, from outstanding athletic performances, to people working at all levels to ensure sport and physical activity is accessible, and that everyone has the opportunity to participate and excel at all levels.”

The 2005 Most Influential Women (in alphabetical order) are:

– Suzanne Coffey, Commonwealth Games Bid Review Committee, Fredericton, NB
– Charmaine Crooks, Sport Consultant & VANOC Board Member, Vancouver, BC
– Sonia Denoncourt, FIFA Women’s Officials Development, Gatineau, QC & Zurich, Switzerland
– Ann Dow, Athlete, Water Polo, Montreal, QC
– Peggy Gallant, Chair, Coaching Association of Canada, Antigonish, NS
– Shirley Green, Philanthropist, Brockville, ON
– Cindy Klassen, Athlete, Speed Skating, Winnipeg, MB & Calgary, AB
– Marion Lay, President & CEO, 2010 Legacies Now Society, Vancouver, BC
– Ljiljana (Lilo) Ljubisic, International Paralympic Committee Member, Vancouver, BC
– Anne Merklinger, Director General, Canadian Canoe Association, Ottawa, ON
– Dr. Margo Mountjoy, Physician, Guelph, ON
– Chantal Petitclerc, Athlete, Paralympics, Montreal, QC
– Sheryn Posen, Chief Operating Officer, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Toronto, ON
– Cathy Priestner Allinger, Senior Vice President of Sport, VANOC, Vancouver, BC
– Theresa Ross, President-Elect, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, Inuvik, NWT
– Tricia Smith, Canadian Olympic Committee Executive Board Member, Vancouver, BC
– Xiuli Wang, Speed Skating Coach, Calgary, AB
– Emma-Jayne Wilson, Athlete, Apprentice Jockey, Toronto, ON
– Joyce Wityshyn, Special Olympic Cross-Country Ski Coach, Brandon, MB

2005 Canada Summer Games Host Society Women, Regina SK

“Ones to Watch”

– Laryssa Biesenthal, Assistant National Team Coach, Rowing Canada,Victoria, BC
– Tanya Dubnicoff, National BMX Coach & Head Coach of the National Cycling Centre, Calgary, AB

Photos and individual bios are available at: <http://www.caaws.ca/influentialwomen/e/index.htm>

About CAAWS CAAWS encourages girls and women to participate and lead in sports and physical activity. A not-for-profit organization, CAAWS offers a number of services, programs and resources to a variety of clients, including sport and physical activity organizations, teachers, coaches, health professionals and recreation leaders. CAAWS works in close co-operation with government and non-government organizations on activities and initiatives that advocate for positive change for young girls and women in the sport and physical activity communities. Visit <http://www.caaws.ca> for more information.

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