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HOW TO SUPPORT DANIELS AND OTHER CANADIAN ATHLETES Donate flight points stockpiled on your credit cards. Athletes can use them to pay for car rentals, accommodations and flights. On Daniels’ website, buy a hand-carved canoe made by her father for $250, while $500 will get you a private canoe or kayak lesson. Make a donation online to the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which helps Canadian athletes access tools and training to assist them on their journey to the podium. training is in beautiful mountainous or tropical places — we are working very hard,” Daniels says. While she’s an elite athlete, she’s still human. Some days it’s tough to avoid hitting the snooze button. “I lack motivation some days and feel fatigued but I think what makes us elite is that we choose to push through the hard mental or physical days. When we are home in the winter, if the temperature in Calgary is above zero, we are on the water even if there is ice and it’s snowing because that’s what we need to do to be the best at our profession.” What drives someone to get into a canoe when it’s snowing outside? For Daniels, the Tokyo 2020 games mean a lot. It might seem like an obvious goal for a canoeist who has consistently earned her spot on Canoe Kayak Canada’s National Team, and represented Canada on the world stage in World Cups and World Championships, but before now it wasn’t possible to compete in the Olympics as a female canoe athlete. It’s a right that Daniels and many other female canoe athletes had to In 2017, the IOC announced that women’s canoe events will be added to the 2020 Games. Joannie Verret, communications coordinator for Canoe Kayak Canada, says the move is a big step forward for raising the profile of women’s canoeing, and inspiring a whole new generation of female athletes to try the sport. “As a kid, you want to have the Olympic dream,” Verret says. “Before you couldn’t have that. It was a long process and we finally made it.” “There’s a lot of times I wondered why I was still doing this,” Daniels says. “My goal was going to the World Championships, World Cups, but it was so hard to fund myself to get there. I was having to work full-time, go to school full-time and be an athlete. Now that we’re working towards the Olympics it makes the motivation so much stronger.” Now female canoe athletes are able to access funding through Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance program. This covers Daniels' living expenses, but not her travel expenses to international competitions. fight for. Daniels and female canoe athletes from around the world banded together to lobby for gender equality, putting pressure on the International Canoe Federation (ICF) and International Olympic Committee (IOC). They wrote letters, talked to media and petitioned for their right to compete. “Every opportunity I had in front of a reporter or camera, my main goal was to share the story of canoe women so that it would continue to remind those involved in the decision process that we are still actively lobbying for gender equality,” Daniels says. “There was a lack of awareness, so my mission is to continue to help people understand it’s still very new and we still need a lot of support,” Daniels says. “It’s going to be really exciting to see us debut.” “It’s important to push for our women because it’s the beginning of everything,” Verret says. “Tokyo 2020 will be a really big moment for all Canadians." And how does this busy athlete relax? She gets in a canoe. “Mostly I get out for day trips with my family,” Daniels says. “We bring our dog Skoki, get out on the water, enjoy the sun and each other’s company. I look forward to those days.” 19