Bell Canada introduces the Bell Champions

National Team athletes to be matched with Bell executives in cross-Canada mentoring program

Vancouver, (B.C.), May 31, 2006 – Bell Canada today introduced the Bell Champions, a team of nine accomplished Olympic and Paralympic athletes from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, who will be national ambassadors for Bell Canada.

The Bell Champions will speak internally and externally, sharing their experiences and their views on what it takes to excel in any human endeavour. They will also be the first Canadian athletes invited to participate in the Bell Athlete and Executive Mentoring Program, a new career development initiative from Bell, also announced today.

Working in collaboration with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Athletes CAN, Bell will offer national team athletes an opportunity to participate in the mentoring program, which aims to help athletes transition from careers in sport to careers in business. Based on their identified areas of professional interest, athletes will be matched with executive mentors with corresponding strengths. This program offers diverse opportunities for mentoring and knowledge-sharing, ranging from general business acumen and leadership to technology and telecommunications. Bell anticipates that its executive mentors will also benefit from their exposure to athletes accustomed to winning in high performance and highly competitive environments.

“I am so pleased to be a member of this high performance team representing Bell,” says Charmaine Crooks, five-time Olympian and Bell Champions Program Mentor. “Since joining the company I have been inspired by the drive and commitment of the Bell employees with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work closely. These attributes are strongly aligned with the values of the Olympic Movement. I believe that this alliance between the Bell Champions and Bell employees will go a long way to demonstrate that the characteristics required to excel in sports are the same as the ones required to excel in business. I also believe that athletes across Canada will benefit greatly from the professional insight that Bell’s Athlete and Executive Mentor Program will provide.”

In addition to speaking at community events, the Bell Champions will provide high-performance motivational sessions to Bell employee groups across the country. Bell Champions are:

Charmaine Crooks Athletics North Vancouver, BC Mandeville, Jamaica
Alexandre Despatie Diving Laval, QC Montréal, QC
Clara Hughes Speed Skating Glen Sutton, QC Winnipeg, MA
Steve Omischl Freestyle Skiing Kelowna, BC North Bay, ON
Amanda Overland Speed Skating Montréal, QC Kitchener, ON
Chantal Petitclerc Wheelchair Athletics Montréal, QC Québec City, QC
Joannie Rochette Figure Skating Île Dupas, QC Montréal, QC
Kyle Shewfelt Artistic Gymnastics Calgary, AB Calgary, AB
Adam van Koeverden Canoe-Kayak Burlington, ON Oakville, ON

“At Bell, our employees are committed to the continuous pursuit of excellence, much like the path that an athlete travels throughout his or her career,” says Mary O’Hara, Vice President, People Development, Bell Canada. “We are committed to supporting our people with technology, connectivity and diverse tools for career development. We are proud to extend this commitment to the Bell Champions and Canada’s national athletes, who inspire all of us at Bell.”

Says five-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes, “As a Bell Champion, I’m excited to represent a company with such vast community connections and with a team of more than 40,000 people across the country. I’m proud to know I can play a role in motivating Bell’s employee team, and also learn from the exceptional people leading it.”

About the Bell Champions

Charmaine Crooks, Athletics, Bell Champions Program Mentor
Five-time Olympian (1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996) and Olympic silver medalist (4 × 400m, Los Angeles 1984), Charmaine Crooks represented Canada in athletics for close to 20 years and was the Canadian team flag-bearer at the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games in 1996. She currently serves on the IOC Press Commissions and continues to serve on the IOC Athletes Commission as a representative of the World Olympians Association. Charmaine was born in Jamaica and resides in North Vancouver, BC.

Alexandre Despatie, Diving
Alexandre Despatie is a distinguished two-time Olympic athlete (2000, 2004) and Olympic silver medalist (3m) in Athens in 2004. In addition to the growing number of medals and awards he is receiving, he is involved in a campaign to improve physical fitness among elementary school students and enjoys sharing his energy and inspiration with youth. Alexandre was born in Montréal and resides in Laval, QC.

Clara Hughes, Speed Skating
Olympic medalist Clara Hughes is the first Canadian and only the fourth athlete in the world to have won Olympic medals in both the Winter and Summer Games. As a speed skater, she was a gold medalist (5000m) in Torino 2006 and bronze medalist (5000m) at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002. Prior to this, she achieved double bronze medals (cycling road race and individual time trial) at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. Clara was born in Winnipeg and resides in Glen Sutton, QC.

Steve Omischl, Freestyle Skiing
Steve Omischl is a two-time Olympic competitor (Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006) and is the 2005 World Freestyle Ski Champion in aerials. He inspires audiences by sharing the stories of his hard work and determination with students and other groups. Steve was born in North Bay, ON, and resides in Kelowna, BC.

Amanda Overland, Speed Skating
Amanda Overland got her start on skates at the age of four. Realizing her dream of being an Olympic medalist (silver medal, 3000m relay) at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino in 2006, she credits her family as a strong influence in her life. Amanda was born in Kitchener, ON, and resides in Montréal, QC.

Chantal Petitclerc, Wheelchair Athletics
Chantal Petitclerc is recognized nationally and internationally for her outstanding athletic achievements. At the Paralympics in Athens in 2004, she was a five-time gold medalist and broke three world records. Chantal’s other Paralympic accomplishments include gold medal achievement in a Sport Demonstration at the Paralympic Games in Athens, double gold and double silver at the Paralympic Games in Sydney 2000, triple gold and double silver medals at the Paralympic Games in Atlanta 1996, and double bronze at the Paralympic Games in Barcelona 1992. Chantal was born in Québec City and resides in Montréal, QC.

Joannie Rochette, Figure Skating
Joannie Rochette is one of Canada’s finest figure skaters. With a fifth place finish at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino 2006, she has her sights on the podium at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. She was born in Montréal and resides in Île Dupas, QC.

Kyle Shewfelt, Gymnastics
Kyle Shewfelt is the first Canadian athlete to win an Olympic medal in his sport. He became a gold medalist (floor) and fourth place finalist (vault) at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, and his achievement is all the more celebrated given the fact that an injury nearly kept him from competing. A highly respected athlete in Canada and abroad, Kyle even has a gymnastics move named for him called, appropriately, “The Shewfelt”. He was born in and continues to reside in Calgary, AB.

Adam van Koeverden, Canoe-Kayak
Adam van Koeverden won gold and bronze medals (K-1 500m and K-1 1000m) at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games. He was also the Canadian team flag-bearer at the Closing Ceremonies in Athens. Adam enjoys speaking to youth and promoting the importance of school. He was born in Oakville and resides in Burlington, ON.

About Bell Canada
Bell Canada is Canada’s national leader in communications with 28 million customer connections across the country. The company provides consumers with simple solutions to all their communications needs, including telephone services, wireless communications, high-speed Internet, digital television and voice over IP. Bell also offers integrated information and communications technology (ICT) services to businesses and governments, and is the Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Bell is proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive Telecommunications Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Bell is wholly-owned by BCE Inc. For information on Bell’s products and services, please visit, and for corporate information on BCE, please visit

For media inquiries, please contact:
Linda Low
Associate Director, Corporate Communications
Bell Canada
Tel: 604-678-7509, Cell: 778-835-6818
linda.low @

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