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August 17, 2008

Seven CAAWS affiliated women heading to Beijing for Olympic and Paralympic Games

Ottawa, ON. . . Seven women who have been associated with the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) will be involved in significant roles at this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, China. Two will be involved as technical officials, two with the Canadian team and one will be assisting with media operations.

Current Board member Lilo Ljubisic (Vancouver, BC) will attend both games in her capacity as the Chair of the International Paralympic Council (IPC), and member of the IPC Governing Board. In that role, she supports the work of the IOC Athletes Commission to represent all athletes, and oversees upcoming the IOC AC. During the Paralympics she will be intimately involved in the supervision of the Paralympic games and will have the honor of presenting medals in all 3 Paralympic cities. Joining her at the Paralympics, as the Assistant Press Chief for the Canadian Paralympic Team is former CAAWS Board member Judy Joseph-Black (Gabriola Island, BC). Judy currently works as the Aboriginal Programs Consultant/ Team BC Communications Manager for BC’s Sport & Recreation Branch, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport.

Betty Dermer-Norris, (Fredericton, NB) who served on the CAAWS Board a few years ago is Director, Team Operations for the Canadian Olympic Committee. She has been working for the last several years to ensure all is in readiness for the Canadian team when it arrives in Beijing. Another former board member, Anne Merklinger (Ottawa, ON), is the Director General of CanoeKayak Canada, and she will be in Beijing as the Press Attaché for the Sprint and Slalom CanoeKayak teams. She will also be the assistant team manager for the sprint team, and is excited about Canada’s athletes heading to the games. “For the first time in twenty years the Canadian Sprint CanoeKayak Team qualified crews in all twelve Olympic events. A phenomenal achievement in itself, qualifying boats for every event is a testament to the strength and depth of Canada’s paddling program.”

Another former board member, Guylaine Bernier (Montreal, QC), will serve as a technical official at both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games for the rowing competitions. At the Olympics, she has been assigned to be a Member of the Jury of Appeal and the FISA - International Rowing Federation Umpiring Commission Representative. The Jury supervises the work of the 18 international umpires and ensures a smooth technical operation of the event. Rowing will be contested at the Paralympics for the first time. Guylaine will be the President of the Jury and the FISA - International Rowing Federation Umpiring Commission Representative, overseeing all the installations and the operation of the event. She will also be part of giving an International Umpiring Seminar during the games to reconfirm the FISA umpiring licence of the jury members.

Current CAAWS Board member, Moira Lassen (Whitehorse, YT) will be attending her first Olympic Games as an International Technical Official (ITO) in the sport of weightlifting. She is the only technical official selected from Canada, and is only one of 7 qualified women of the 35 ITOs in the sport. She will proudly watch as her daughter Jeane competes for a medal on August 15th in the 75kg weight category. “Being a female in the male dominated sport of weightlifting is an amazing challenge and having faced thirteen years of those challenges I feel extremely prepared for the Beijing Olympic Games,” said Lassen.

Rounding out the CAAWS associated group is Barb MacDonald (Ottawa, ON) who has served as CAAWS’ Communications Consultant since 2001. She will be working with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) assigned as an advisor to the media operations team at the National Indoor Stadium, which hosts Artistic Gymnastics, Trampoline and the finals of Team Handball. This will be her third Olympic Games working with the organizing committee to ensure smooth working conditions for the journalists who are covering the games.

Executive Director of CAAWS Karin Lofstrom is pleased to see so many Canadian women in leadership roles at these Games. “Canada has an international reputation as a country that develops and promotes women in sport leadership. I am pleased that all of these women who have played a significant role both within CAAWS, and also within their sport and professional activities will be outstanding representatives at the Games.”

The Beijing Olympic Games will take place August 8 – 24, 2008 and the Paralympic Games will run September 6-17, 2008.



Canadian Association for the Advancement of
Women and Sport and Physical Activity

N202 - 801 King Edward Avenue
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1N 6N5
Phone: 613-562-5667
Fax: 613-562-5668