After the initial postponement of Tokyo 2020, athletes have had to pivot their training, competition schedules, and manage quarantine and international travel restrictions among so many other uncertainties. Their resilience is truly inspiring.
RBC is proud to support 33 Team Canada athletes who will be competing in Tokyo in over 17 different sports — from Taekwondo to Swimming to Beach Volleyball. Plus, for the first time ever at an Olympic Games, athletes who were discovered through RBC Training Ground will be competing. After trying out at a local RBC Training Ground event, young athletes were identified as having Olympic potential and received funding, coaching and mentorship support to make their podium dreams come true.
In addition to financial support, the RBC Olympians program provides athletes with opportunities to gain valuable career experience alongside flexible work arrangements. RBC Olympians also act as ambassadors, spreading the Olympic messages of teamwork, excellence, commitment and leadership to communities across Canada. Since its inception in 2002, hundreds of current and newly retired Olympians and Para athletes have benefited from the program — including household names Penny Oleksiak, Mark McMorris and RJ Barrett.
Through initiatives like RBC Training Ground and the RBC Olympians Program, RBC is proud to support amateur athletes at every stage of their careers.
Sport: Canoe / Kayak
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Fun fact: If Haley wasn’t a kayaker, she would want to compete in mountain biking so she could spend more time in the mountains.
Haley began competing competitively at the age of 14. She is a multi-time Canadian Champion for white water slalom canoeing and won a Bronze medal at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. An ambassador for WaterAid Canada, she also travelled to Ghana to launch the WASH 4 Public health program in partnership with ‘Right To Play.’ Her sport has gone through a gender equity battle where historically men have represented at the Olympic Games, and women have not. A pioneer for gender equality in her sport, she led the charge to push for the inclusion of women’s canoeing at the Olympics. As a result of her tremendous determination, the women were successful and women’s canoe has been added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With this major barrier aside, Haley is determined to leave a legacy in Tokyo and beyond. Haley is also a passionate spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ community. Her father, Kimberly, will be the first transgender judge in Olympic history this summer.
Hometown: Eganville, Ontario
Fun fact: Melissa was recently quizzed by Buzzfeed on her knowledge of Olympic trivia. Check out the BuzzFeed video, made in partnership with RBC.
After winning 800m Gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Melissa went to the IAAF World Championships where she broke the 14-year-old national record in the distance, becoming the first Canadian to go below 1:58. After that spectacular semifinal, Melissa went on to win the Silver medal in the final, which was quite a comeback after having missed the indoor season with a sports hernia and an ankle injury that sidelined her for several weeks.
At her second Olympic Games at Rio 2016, Melissa finished fourth in the 800m, matching Canada’s best-ever Olympic result in the event. Melissa made her Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games, the same year she first broke the two-minute mark in the 800m at the Prefontaine Classic. She won back-to-back national titles in 2013 and 2014 after finishing second at the 2012 Canadian Championships. She made her IAAF World Championship debut in 2013 before gaining more multi-sport competition experience at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Melissa is also a mom to her 3-year-old daughter, Corrine.