With the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 on the horizon, Toyota Canada is proudly introducing a standout lineup of six Canadian athletes to their esteemed team.
Already accomplished in their respective fields, these athletes joining Team Toyota have each followed a distinct path to success, surmounting challenges and achieving remarkable feats. While they’re recognized for their extraordinary athleticism, these athletes are now motivating fellow Canadians and inspiring the next generation of athletes by sharing their personal journeys. Cyril Dimitris, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Toyota Canada, expressed excitement, stating, “We’re elated to welcome these exceptional athletes to Team Toyota, individuals who are shattering barriers and making positive impacts on their communities. Our Team Toyota members serve as shining examples of the possibilities achievable through the power of human movement. By sharing their stories of growth beyond sports, we aim to encourage and inspire Canadians to embrace their own ‘impossible’.”
Toyota introduced the Start Your Impossible campaign ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. This global initiative featured athletes worldwide sharing their stories of realizing the seemingly impossible through harnessing the power of movement.
The six Canadian athletes now part of Team Toyota include:
1. Cindy Ouellet – Quebec (Wheelchair Basketball): Triumphing over challenges on the path to success
Cindy Ouellet, a seasoned wheelchair basketball player, is well-acquainted with representing Canada on the international stage. With five Paralympic Games and four Parapan Am Games under her belt, she stands as one of Canada’s foremost wheelchair basketball stars. However, Cindy’s journey is one marked by overcoming obstacles and achieving excellence. Diagnosed with bone cancer at age 12, facing a less than five percent chance of survival, and enduring bullying as a child, Cindy’s determination propelled her past insurmountable odds to achieve tremendous success both in Para sport and academics. Today, Cindy is a vocal advocate in intersectional spaces and a source of motivation. Read more about Cindy’s remarkable story here.
2. Damian Warner – Ontario (Athletics – Decathlon): Conquering hurdles and winning Olympic Gold
As the men’s decathlon champion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Damian Warner has positioned himself as one of the world’s most accomplished athletes. Yet, his journey to success was not without challenges. Raised in a low-income, single-parent household, Damian witnessed the struggles parents face while providing for their families. He also recognized how easily a child can fall through the cracks without the right resources in place. Fortunate to have a supportive network, including the unwavering support of his mother and a team of coaches, Damian now aims to give back by encouraging underserved children to pursue their passions. Read more about Damian’s inspiring story here.
3. Keely Shaw – Saskatchewan (Para Cycling): Pivoting to success through resilience
Keely Shaw’s path to becoming Canada’s first medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is a testament to determination, resilience, and remarkable accomplishments. A competitive athlete from the outset, Keely aspired to become an elite hockey player. However, a life-altering horse-riding injury at age 15 left her with limited mobility, sparking an identity crisis. Relearning her body and adapting to new abilities, Keely found empowerment through Para cycling, determined to change perceptions about physical disabilities. Read more about Keely’s inspirational story here.
4. Philip Kim – British Columbia (Breaking): Pioneering a new era in breaking
Philip Kim, known as ‘Phil Wizard’, is a highly original competitor in the world of Breaking. With Breaking set to debut at the 2024 Olympic Games, Phil’s status quickly rose from a minor celebrity within his niche community to a top Olympic prospect for Canada. Ignited by his athletic prowess from a young age and driven by his passion for Breaking, Phil’s journey was marked by perseverance, overcoming doubt, and navigating family expectations as he followed an unconventional path. A trailblazer now, Phil aspires to inspire a new generation of breakers and future Olympians. Read more about Philip’s remarkable story here.
5. Tammara Thibeault – Quebec (Boxing): Defying stereotypes in women’s boxing
World boxing champion and Olympian Tammara Thibeault found her sense of belonging through sport. Inspired by her father, Tammara started boxing training at age nine. As a biracial child born to a Haitian-Canadian mother and French-Canadian father, she stood out from her peers and faced bullying, often feeling like an outsider at school. Fueled by her love for education and passion for boxing, Tammara emerged stronger and more resilient. Progressing her boxing career rapidly, Tammara is determined to challenge stereotypes in women’s boxing, breaking misconceptions on her path to success. Read more about Tammara’s incredible story here.
6. Marissa Papaconstantinou – Ontario (Para Athletics – 100m and 200m): Overcoming limits, inspiring the next generation
Marissa Papaconstantinou’s journey to earning a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games defied the limits of human potential, showcasing the influence of community, mindset, and determination. Born without a right foot, Marissa’s story underscores the power of adaptive sports and inclusive facilities. Fitted with her first running blade at age 11, Marissa’s dedication and resilience led her to become a top athlete and an advocate for Para sport. She is now committed to elevating Para sport and inspiring future Paralympians. Read more about Marissa’s remarkable story here.
For more about Team Toyota and Toyota’s role as the official mobility partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, click here.
About Toyota Canada Inc.
Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) serves as the exclusive distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Canada. TCI has sold over six million vehicles in Canada through a nationwide network of 287 Toyota and Lexus dealerships. Focused on delivering safety, quality, dependability, and reliability to Canadian drivers and service recipients, Toyota is dedicated to enhancing vehicles and customer experiences. TCI’s headquarters is located in Toronto, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Halifax, along with parts distribution centers in Clarington and Vancouver. Toyota also operates two manufacturing facilities in Canada, producing popular models such as Toyota RAV4, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Lexus RX 350, RX 450h hybrid, and Lexus NX 250, NX 350, and NX 350h hybrid. With a global record of over 19 million electrified vehicles sold, Toyota is a leader in the field of electrified vehicles and holds the distinction of being the leading seller of electrified vehicles in Canada.