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Canadian businessman boosts Canadian medallists’ money in Paris

canadian businessman boosts canadian medallists money in paris

Canada’s medallists in Paris will get a bump in podium prize money.

A donation by Canadian health-care technology entrepreneur Sanjay Malaviya of Hespeler, Ont., will make a gold medal worth a total of $25,000, silver $20,000 and bronze $15,000 to athletes.

The 2024 Olympic Games open July 26 and close Aug. 11 followed by the Paralympic Games from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8.

Malaviya has renewed grants of $5,000 per medal, which he gave retroactively in 2022 to Canada’s 130 Olympic and 53 Paralympic medallists in that year’s Beijing’s Winter Games and also in Tokyo’s Summer Games in 2021.

“During COVID, I woke up and read the news early. It was during the last Olympic cycle and an Australian businessman had given $5,000 for every summer Olympic Australian athlete because he was just so happy that the team went to the Olympics and did so well,” he said. “I just wondered ‘wow, who is doing that in Canada?”‘

The continuation of his Team Canada Podium Awards at both the Paris Games and the 2026 Winter Games in Milan-Cortina, Italy, adds to the $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze given to athletes by the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees.

“I really wanted the dollars to go directly to the athletes,” Malaviya said. “I’ve had a lot of calls from Olympians and Paralympians who really appreciated the recognition and acknowledgment. I was overwhelmed by that. I didn’t really expect that.

“It just showed it made a difference for them which in the bottom of my heart was really what I was trying to do.”

Paralympic medallists to be paid in Paris

For comparison, the U.S Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s “Project Gold” doles out $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze.

Malaviya was also a driver behind the recent announcement that Canada’s Paralympic medallists will be financially rewarded for the first time in Paris, and at the same level as Olympic athletes who have received medal bonuses since 2006.

Malaviya committed $4 million to an $8-million endowment fund to sustain medal money for Paralympians into the future.

The 56-year-old founder and chief executive officer of RL Solutions also renewed a $100,000 contribution to NextGen athletes.

“He really, really cares about helping Team Canada athletes on the path to the podium,” said Jacqueline Ryan, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

“He is a nation builder, he cares about the role that these athletes play, so he wants to help fund them and make sure that they have all the resources they need on the path to the podium because they inspire us all.”

Malaviya founded RL Solutions in 1997 in Toronto to design health-care software for patient feedback, incident reporting and risk management.

The company merged with a London-based firm in 2018 to become RL Datix. Malaviya continues to be a board member of a company with 3,000 clients and a staff of 2,000 in 19 countries.

Athletes ‘resilient, persistent’

Between grants for medals and his donation to the Paralympic committee’s foundation for medal money, Malaviya’s committed over $6 million to Canadian athletes since 2022.

“When you think of the calibre of people who compete at that level on the world stage, there’s just no other way to get there than to be resilient, than to be persistent, than to know how to deal with failure, than to get up when you get knocked down and start again,” Malaviya said.

“There’s just no other way to become an Olympian, and to medal on top of that, you have to be in my books, representing all the values that I think are important.

“I have kids and I have to talk to them about what I think is important. Just about every value that I try to highlight as timeless, critical and important is embodied by an Olympian.

“Anything that brings us together, gets us excited in a positive way, gets us to forget our differences and really just unite, it’s something that I want to really get behind and show I think these are the best qualities we can have as human beings.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee doesn’t get government funding. It pays for its operations through corporate sponsorships. It’s foundational arm raises money through private, individual donations.

“The Malaviya foundation is one of our largest donors of all time,” Ryan said. “Despite everything we’re trying to do, athletes still don’t have the resources they need to compete on the world stage.”

Malaviya’s grants and the medal money paid to athletes from the COC’s Athlete Excellence Fund and CPC’s Paralympic Performance Recognition program are taxable.

This article is from from cbc.ca (CBC NEWS CANADA)

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