Marsha Sweeney-Hudey knows all about dedication to her sport.
The 30-year-old White City, Sask., product, who now lives in Calgary, is a two-time member of Canada’s Olympic speedskating team. And being a high performance amateur athlete in Canada, she also knows the financial implications of chasing her dream.
“You’re not making money, that’s for sure,” said Sweeney-Hudey. “I do it because I love the sport, I do it for the challenges, the opportunities, the travel and being able to represent Canada on the world stage.”
Sweeney-Hudey, along with hockey player Brigette Lacquette from the Cote First Nation, are two of several athletes who have partnered with More Rewards and Save On Foods to introduce the Fueling Sport program aimed at helping athletes from the playground to the podium with sponsorship and fundraising opportunities. The program also provides athletes with cost-saving grocery opportunities, leading to a healthier lifestyle, something Lacquette has honed in recent years.
“In 2017, I started to focus on living a healthy lifestyle and that’s when things started to fall in place for me when I started to make the right choices off the ice,” she said.
Over the next five years, the program hopes to assist more than 500 amateur high-performance athletes and 150,000 community-level youth athletes from B.C. to Manitoba with $10 million in support.
“It really does alleviate some of that financial strain,” said Sweeney-Hudey. “When I first graduated and moved to Calgary because I wanted to pursue my dream of the Olympics, something like this program would have been amazing because I wasn’t on the national team yet and I was just sort of working my way (up).
“It isn’t just sponsoring elite amateur athletes but it’s taking on a grassroots approach.”
Athletes at all levels can apply until May 28 at fuelingsport.ca.