The Canada Games Council (CGC) has announced that Team Manitoba athlete Victoria Tachinski and Team New Brunswick para-athlete Max Arsenault have been named the recipients of the 2017 Canada Summer Games Roland Michener Award. This announcement coincides with the one year anniversary of the 2017 Canada Summer Games which took place in Winnipeg, MB from July 28 - August 13, 2017.
The Roland Michener Award is presented after each installment of the Canada Games to a young male and a young female Canada Games athlete who exemplifies leadership, cooperation and excellence during the Games. Each recipient will receive a $2,000 athletic bursary that is designed to provide financial assistance as they continue their promising athletic careers.
“The Roland Michener award is designed to recognize athletes whose tremendous personal qualities including leadership, dedication, and cooperation shine through during the Canada Games and have a positive impact on their teammates and everyone around them, and for Victoria and Max that was certainly the case,” said CGC Chairman Tom Quinn. “They proved throughout the 2017 Games that they are not only incredible athletes but incredible people as well, and both embody the spirit of the Roland Michener award and the true meaning of a Canada Games champion,” said Quinn. “We are honoured to be able to call them Canada Games alumni.”
Tachinski competed in Athletics for Team Manitoba, and established herself as a strong leader and role model as she helped guide her relay team to a silver medal in the 4x400m relay to go along with a gold medal in the 400m and a silver medal in the 800m race. She would always make time to attend younger competitors practices and pass along her own racing knowledge and encouragement. She demonstrated a positive attitude throughout the Games and always inspired her Team Manitoba teammates to do their best and keep competing regardless of the result. The Games were held in Tachinski’s hometown of Winnipeg, which made them even more special for her.
“The Canada Games were one of the best experiences of my life, and having the games at home only added to the experience,” said Tachinski. “Having my friends and family support me and cheer me on helped me find the strength I needed to compete. Overall the games were a success for myself, and I had so much fun. I love to run and I love to compete so the Canada Games were the perfect experience for myself. I’m currently on the Track team at Penn State and I’m enjoying the challenge of competing at the collegiate level, while completing my degree in Biotechnology. My long term goal would to someday make the Canadian Olympic team and travel all around the world to compete. Overall, Canada Games was one of my favourite experiences and it’s helped me set up towards my next level of competition. I am so grateful towards the Canada Games committee and I’m so lucky I had this experience."
Arsenault is from Rothesay, NB and suffered a tragic snowboarding accident that resulted in him becoming a paraplegic just 18 months prior to the start of the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Through unwavering dedication and perseverance he was still able to attend the Games and compete in para-athletics for Team New Brunswick in both the para-shotput and para-discus events. Arsenault then joined the Team New Brunswick coaching staff and served as a manager where he encouraged and inspired members of the CanoeKayak team that he had previously hoped to compete on before his injury. One of the best moments from the 2017 Games occured when Max was able to compete as an honorary athlete and take part in the 200-metre Kayak race during the second week of competition.
“Being able to compete at the 2017 Canada Games was truly an unforgettable experience,” said Arsenault. “I am very proud to have been able to represent the province of New Brunswick at a national level. I feel I was luckier than many people at the games as I was able to experience them from multiple perspectives. I attended as a competitor in paraathletics, a member of the coaching staff for my former CanoeKayak training partners, as well as a honorary participant in CanoeKayak. CanoeKayak was the sport that I had for years dreamed of competing in at the games prior to my injury. I always say that participating in sports is the best way to develop leadership and cooperation skills, so to be recognized for those skills by the Canada Games Council is an honour. My next major athletic goal is to earn a spot on Team Canada for Wheelchair Rugby. Then to one day compete in the Paralympic Games.”