Breakthrough Winners 1999


OTTAWA – The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) announced today that five exceptional Canadians are being recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in enhancing the participation of girls and women in sport and physical activity.

David Morrison of Coquitlam, British Columbia receives the CAAWS Breakthrough Award for his initiative in raising awareness about the inequities between male and female sport programs in his community. His commitment and perseverance led to the development and implementation by the City of Coquitlam of an unprecedented five-part gender equity program. The program includes improved funding, the formation of a gender equity committee and coordinator, mandated gender equity policies, and the compilation of ongoing gender equity statistics. “I did what I felt was right for all young girls and women wanting an equal chance to be active,” he says. “I plan to continue my efforts by helping other municipalities implement similar programs.”

Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette is the Breakthrough Award recipient in the media category. Stubbs, a feature writer and columnist, has consistently tackled the hard issues when it comes to women in sport. Last year he publicly lambasted Sports Illustrated for their pseudo-porn swimsuit issue that heightens the struggle to achieve gender equity and respect for sportswomen. He often overcomes this sexist, derogatory ignorance by writing articles that highlight women’s competition, and presents readers with well-rounded profiles of professional and amateur female athletes. “I am a firm believer that a good story is a good story – regardless of the gender of the participant,” says Stubbs. “Where there was a time years ago that a story about women and sport ran for reasons of ‘political-correctness’, this is definitely no longer the case. Today, inspiring stories of women and sport are published purely out of merit. This is very gratifying.”

The Grace Under Pressure Award is presented to soccer official Sonia Denoncourt of Montreal, Québec. Inaugurated in 1994, this award honours individuals whose accomplishments transcend demanding circumstances. One of Denoncourt’s most noted achievements is her experience as the first woman to officiate a men’s pro soccer game. During the game, in soccer-crazed Brazil, she yellow-carded five players, red-carded one player, and withstood the jeering of a passionate all-male crowd. She also officiated the Women’s World Cup held in the US in July 1999, including the opening game before an audience of close to 80,000 fans. Denoncourt is one of only 85 female members of the Fédération international de football association (FIFA). In 1996, 1997 and 1999 the Québec Sports Federation and Sports Québec awarded Denoncourt Referee of the Year in Québec for all sports. “The CAAWS award is a big honour to me,” says Denoncourt. “My career has been a dream come true, and hopefully one that will open the door for many other women!”

The Herstorical Award is presented to Margaret Good of Newmarket, Ontario. A Community Facilitator for the Active Living Community Action Project, Good has dedicated her life, through her career and as a volunteer, to promoting and facilitating physical activity, particularly for women and girls. She has worked with many community groups and leaders to create environments that are more welcoming to women. She has written publications and designed fitness programs that target families, teenagers, mother and daughters, older adults, and individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Good is well-known to the media, presenting a series on cable television, making frequent visits on Canadian Living Television and CityTV’s Breakfast Television, as well as regular contributions to Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent and the Canadian Family.

Kristine Drakich of Toronto receives the Breakthrough Award in the Individual Category. Drakich is a coach and physical activity advocate who is highly acclaimed as a positive role model to her athletes and other coaches. She has been the coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Women’s Volleyball team for nine years. Drakich is very actively involved in the development and implementation of sport policy that embraces inclusivity, diversity and equity in sport. As a member of the Council of Athletics and Recreation at the University of Toronto, she has been a leader in striving for equal programming opportunities for both males and females, and people of all backgrounds. She also had a key role in the development of policies that promote positive coaching behaviours, including anti-harassment initiatives and athlete-centred programming.

The Breakthrough Awards were established by CAAWS in 1986 to recognize exceptional accomplishments that ‘break through’ traditional limits and pave the way for girls and women to participate. Recipients will be presented with their award at various events during the upcoming months.