Olympic bronze medalist Evan Dunfee has been recognized not just for his high-level athletic performance, but for his fairness and fun in sports.
The Richmond athlete, who took the third-place medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 50-kilometre race walking event this summer, recently received the “True Sport” award from AthleteCAN for exemplifying fairness, excellence, inclusion and fun in his sport.
This award, Dunfee said, reflects the last five years of his journey as a race walker, staying the course but not compromising his values.
“I was able to hold to my values while at the same time wanting nothing more than to one day win that medal and ending up getting the best of both worlds,” he said.
After hearing about the award, he once again expressed his appreciation to his hometown audience that cheered him on as he pounded out the miles throughout Richmond, leading up to the Olympics.
“I’m a product of this community,” Dunfee told the Richmond News.
Normally, he would have been at a training camp in some warm locale leading up to the Olympics, but being “stuck at home was made so much more fun because it felt like there was this whole community behind me and I felt that support.”
A decision was made by AthleteCAN last year to no longer give out performance-based awards, rather to focus on athletes who focus on more than their sport – like social responsibility.
There are already many organizations that recognize performances, but these awards “lift up other aspects of the sport,” Dunfee said.
“It aligns with what they’re trying to do in terms of fostering the Canadian athlete voices as a vessel for good,” he added.
Other athletes nominated were Alfonso Davies, Leylah Fernandes and Kate O’Brien whom Dunfee said he admires greatly for their contributions and strength in the face of adversity.
“To be named alongside those athletes was incredible,” Dunfee said, adding, however, “It’s really cool to see the path I’ve ended up on resonate with so many people.”Dunfee is now training for the World Race Walking Team Championships, which take place in Muscat, Oman, in March.