Press release – Athletics Canada

Athletics Canada bolstered its domestic sport programs with two exciting additions to the staff team. Chris Winter will take on the role of Director, Domestic Programs, and Safe Sport, and Fannie Smith will be the new Manager, Para Development.

Chris Winter
Chris Winter competing at Canadian Cross Country Championships. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated

Winter to lead Safe Sport

Chris Winter has represented Canada at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Championships. In the new year, he will continue representing Canada and Canadian athletes as Athletics Canada’s Director, Domestic Programs, and Safe Sport.
“For nearly 25 years, athletics has played a fundamental role in my life,” said Winter. “I know that whether an athlete is just starting out in a grassroots program, has just qualified for the Boston Marathon, or is preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, that athletics can be an incredibly positive influence in one’s life and I am looking forward to working to ensure that everyone participating in athletics has a positive experience.”

Winter comes to Athletics Canada from BC Athletics, where he is completing his time as Technical Manager, Track and Field. His term with the provincial association ends in December before he assumes his new role with Athletics Canada on Jan. 4.
As the Director, Domestic Programs, and Safe Sport, Winter will provide leadership of Athletics Canada’s domestic sport and safe sport operations, including grassroots programming, domestic programming, coach and official’s education, and Safe Sport initiatives.
“In order to be successful, we need to leverage all of the great knowledge and experience that exists in our sport across the country,” said Winter. “In a certain way, I see myself playing the role of quarterback, ensuring that from coast to coast to coast we are all working together to make this sport a healthy, positive, environment for all.”
“We are pleased to bring Chris in for this important role,” said Athletics Canada Chief Executive Officer David Bedford. “His experience on the field of play and in sport administration will be invaluable in this position, as it combines grassroots programming and leading our Safe Sport initiatives. Athletics Canada’s first priority is the safety of our athletes, coaches, officials, and staff. Chris will be integral in ensuring a safe environment for everyone involved in our sport.”
In his new job, Winter will also oversee Athletics Canada’s long-term athlete development model in concert with High-Performance Director Simon Nathan. In addition, Winter will develop and implement integrated domestic initiatives to strengthen grassroots to masters programming.
“Athletics is one of the most accessible sports in the world, with people able to participate and compete from childhood and throughout their entire lives,” said Nathan. “Developing the programs for every age, every location, and every skill level makes our sport stronger. I believe that Chris’s appointment in this role will result in a more robust Athletics Canada from the playground to the Olympic and Paralympic stadium.”

Smith continues commitment to accessible sport

Fannie Smith joins Athletics Canada on Dec. 1 from BC Adaptive Snowsports, where she is currently Athletic and Communications Manager.
“I am very excited and energized about joining Athletics Canada as Manager, Para Development,” said Smith. “I look forward to bringing my passion for para sport, and love of working with people and programs, to create opportunities and pathways for each person to succeed.”
Smith brings para sport experience from major Games, having been a member of Canada’s Mission Team at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and Lima 2019 Parapan American Games.
“Fannie’s experience working in the para sport space will be a great asset for Athletics Canada,” said Para Performance Lead Carla Nicholls. “Over the course of her career, she has established herself as a trusted leader in promoting para sport at every level from grassroots to the international stage.”
As Para Development Manager, Smith will be called upon to develop strong relationships with key stakeholders, collaborating with relevant stakeholders to reach positive outcomes and move the program forward. She will also develop and implement plans for para events from grassroots to the national level.
“I bring a strong advocacy voice and rich experience from working for a disability sport organization, as well as delivering support for high performance teams at Paralympic Games,” said Smith. “I hope that my touch points at various levels of sport in Canada will give me perspective and insight to support provincial partners in building a strong and healthy Athletics Canada system.”