Snowboard cross competitor Carle Brenneman of Comox and her coach Marcel Mathieu are among the 50 athlete-and-coach pairings who will receive funding through the Petro-Canada Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence (FACE) program.
The announcement of the funding was made on Sept. 9.
Working together with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and their National Sport partners, the FACE program provides developing, pre-carded, Canadian athlete and coach pairings with $10,000 in grants. These resources help athletes achieve national carded status and coaches improve their skills over the long term.
“The FACE program is the cornerstone of our Olympic and Paralympic legacy and we are excited to increase the funding for both coaches and athletes, fuelling their dream to compete on the international stage,” said Louis Côté, Director, Loyalty and Strategic Partnerships, Suncor. “The drive and discipline of the athletes and coaches chosen is astounding, congratulations on becoming this year’s FACE recipients.”
This year, Suncor increased the funding from $8,000 per athlete and coach pairing to $10,000, and boosted the total annual financial commitment from $400,000 to $500,000 for every year of the program going forward.
Beginning with the Petro-Canada Torch Scholarship Fund in 1988 and continuing through its re-launch as the FACE Program in 2007, the program has provided more 2,600 Canadian athletes and coaches with almost $9 million in direct financial support. Recipients of the 2014 program funding represent both summer and winter sports and represent Canada from coast to coast.
Previous FACE recipients have gone on to great success on the international stage, including at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, reaching the podium 12 times. Medallists include: Kaitlyn Lawes (curling – gold), Dennis Thiessen (wheelchair curling – gold), Mark Arendz (para-biathlon – silver, bronze), Patrick Chan (figure skating – silver, silver), Mélodie Daoust (ice hockey – gold), Mac Marcoux (para-alpine – gold, bronze, bronze), Kevin Reynolds (figure skating – silver), Marielle Thompson (ski cross – gold).
Brenneman came up just short of her goal of competing for Canada at the 2014 Olympics but wrapped her year by capturing the Canadian SBX championship in April at Big White. The 24-year-old finished the season ranked 20th on the World Cup tour.
On her website, Brenneman notes that, “Growing up in Comox on Vancouver Island was a privilege. Living just two minutes from the ocean and a half hour drive from a mountain is something some people can only dream of…… I was lucky enough to live that dream.
“I started skiing at the age of three and pretty much grew up on the snow with family and friends on Mount Washington after that.
“At 13 I decided to try something different, snowboarding. A few lessons with friends and that was it, I was hooked for life! During my junior and high school years I belonged to the snowboard team. That way I could justify the time away from class shredding the mountain with friends. I even managed to convince my parents to let me home school for one term so that I could spend my days on Mount Washington boarding.
“All those days of snowboarding must have paid off because in my last year of high school I won the Provincial high school championship for both individual and team.
“This led the BC Snowboard cross team to invite me to try out. Once I was on the B.C. SBX team I moved to Whistler where I could sharpen my skills with the support of a coach and team.
“It’s been a long hard journey but in 2011 I was able to join the Canadian National Snowboard Cross team. I now compete all over the world for Canada in hopes to one day be the World Cup champion.”