May 26th, 2024

Rowing Canada CEO to step down ahead of Paris Games

By The Canadian Press on May 1, 2024.

An athlete carries their boat away from the water at the Canadian Sprint Canoe and Kayak Championships at Mooney's Bay in Ottawa, on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. Rowing Canada chief executive officer Terry Dillon will step down next month ahead of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

VICTORIA – Rowing Canada chief executive officer Terry Dillon will step down next month ahead of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

Dillon has been CEO of the country’s governing body of the sport for the past seven years.

His resignation is effective June 30, Rowing Canada said Wednesday in a statement posted on its website.

“This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but I know it is the right one at the right time,” Dillon said in the statement.

“I took this job to make a difference and I am proud of what we achieved.”

Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Rowing Canada’s director of partnerships and sport development, will serve as interim CEO starting July 1.

Olympic rowing runs July 27 to Aug. 3 at Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium and Paralympic rowing from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 at Vaires-Torcy leisure complex.

Canada’s women’s eight, which won gold in Tokyo, and the women’s lightweight double have qualified for Paris.

The men’s eight and women’s quadruple sculls will attempt to join them at a last-chance Olympic qualifier May19-21 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Jacob Wasserman of Humboldt, Sask., has qualified to race the Paralympic men’s single in Paris.

Rowing Canada conducted a review of its high-performance culture in 2022.

Head coach Dave Thompson was dismissed in 2020 after athlete complaints of bullying and maltreatment.

Rowing Canada said it was committed to accepting, adopting and exceeding all of the recommendations in a report issued in 2022 by the law firm Rubin-Thomlinson.

“We navigated a global pandemic, through the Community Sport for All program, we opened the doors of our boathouses a little wider and invited over 4,000 Canadians from under-represented groups to try rowing for the first time,” Dillon said in Wednesday’s statement.

“We have done much of the hard work that was needed to elevate the athlete’s voice, address power imbalances and shift the culture in our national team programs.”

Rowing Canada said further updates to the organization’s leadership transition will be provided at a later date.

“Terry came into his role as CEO with a determination to grow rowing at all level in Canada and he has definitely moved us forward as a sport and an organization,” Rowing Canada president Carol Purcer said in the statement.

“He has navigated through some very difficult times with a mindset that we can always do better, resulting in some progressive chance, making RCA one of Canada’s leading national sports organizations.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

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