Johann Olav Koss, one of the best speed skaters in history and now the Chief Executive Officer of the children’s humanitarian organization Right To Play, has signed on as a member of the Athlete Advisory Board of the MultiSport Centre of Excellence Foundation, the not-for-profit charity which is building its $54 million flagship athlete development centre in the City of Burnaby.
A four-time Olympic gold medalist for his home country of Norway, Koss joins former world doubles champion and star of Canada’s Davis Cup men’s national tennis team Grant Connell of West Vancouver, two-time NBA basketball most valuable player Steve Nash, former Vancouver Canucks’ NHL hockey star and NHLPA President Trevor Linden and former Olympic rower and children’s fitness advocate Silken Laumann as a member of the Athlete Advisory Board.
“Johann Olav Koss is one of those Olympians as well known for the results of his work in promoting sport as a tool of social change and development as he is for his four gold medals and one silver medal at the Winter Olympics of 1992 and 1994,” said Scott Cousens of Vancouver, chair of the MultiSport Centre of Excellence Foundation. “That combination is inherent in all of the advising athletes who have stepped up to support our Foundation, but in Johann, it comes with such a distinguished international flavour and global impact.”
Koss joins the MultiSport Foundation, which is completing its capital campaign on the strength of a founding $23 million donation by Cousens and recent new pledges totaling more than $5 million while it prepares to resume construction at its Kensington Street address next to 8 Rinks and just off of Highway #1, on the same day it adds Dr. Bruce Forster to its Medical Advisory Board and Dr. Melanie Clarance to its Business Advisory Board.
“We have developed our vision for integrated athlete development and innovation in sport medicine, sport science and sport training on the strength of support and consultation from leading athletes, sport medical practitioners and business people,” said Loyal Makaroff, the President and CEO of the MultiSport Foundation. “Johann Olav Koss, Dr. Bruce Forster and Melanie Clarance are welcome additions.”
Clarance joins Vancouver lawyer Tricia Smith, who is also a new member of the Board of Directors of Own The Podium, forestry icon Peter Bentley, Chairman Emeritus of Canfor Corporation and Ron Thiessen, President of Hunter Dickinson, Inc. on the Business Advisory Board while Dr. Forster joins a Medical Advisory Board comprised of: Dr. Brian Day of Cambie Surgery Centre, a former President of the Canadian Medical Association; Dr. Jack Taunton, VANOC Chief Medical Officer and founder of the Allan McGavin Sport Medicine Centre; Rick Celebrini, the former member of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC who has gone on to establish himself as one of the top orthopedic sport physiotherapists in North America; and Lynda Cannell, the President and Chief Executive Officer of SportMedBC, the network of more than 550 sport medical and paramedical practitioners living or operating in British Columbia.
Dr. Doug Clement of Vancouver, who co-founded SportMedBC with Dr. Taunton and is one of the “fathers of sport medicine” in Canada, was named a global ambassador of the MultiSport Foundation last month.
Koss won one gold and one silver medal in his first Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, in 1992 before thrilling and inspiring his own country of Norway with a trinity of three gold medals – the 1,500-m, 5,000-m and 10,000-m — in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. He was speed skating world champion in 1990, 1991 and 1994 over the course of a career in which he set 10 world records.
He went on to train as a physician at the University of Queensland in Australia, became a UNICEF ambassador and founded Right To Play, the global organization which uses sport and play to spur personal and social development of children and young people around the world, with a focus on disadvantaged developing nations in Africa. Koss moved to Toronto to complete his Masters of Business Administration at the University of Toronto, where he resides while leading the six national fundraising offices and four regional program offices of Right To Play.
A senior member of the sport medical team at VANOC – host organizing committee for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games — Dr. Forster is the Chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of BC, Head of Medical Imaging at Vancouver General and UBC Hospitals, and Regional Medical Director for Medical Imaging for Vancouver Coastal Health. A former Medical Director of Canada Diagnostic Centres where he continues to practice and help lead innovation in private CT, MRI and ultrasound services, Dr. Forster is the Associate Editor of two major imaging journals and has authored more than 80 papers and 70 scientific exhibits in Radiology.
Clarance is Senior Vice-President for EFG Wealth Management (Canada), Ltd. In her role at EFG Canada, Clarance specializes in global asset management for high net worth individuals, foundations and institutions. Clarance is regarded as a dynamic connector of people and serves on a series of Boards. She is an avid sports fanatic who enjoys skiing, tennis and running trails and has steadfastly supported her children in their endeavours in rugby, tennis, skiing, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and gymnastics. Holder of degrees in Science and Veterinary Medicine, she still finds time to practice as a part-time veterinarian.
“We have five members of the Order of Canada on our advisory boards and in Dr. Koss, Dr. Forster and Dr. Clarance, we have doubled the number of doctors on our team in one fell swoop,” mused Makaroff.
The MultiSport Centre of Excellence Foundation is a sport sciences foundation and registered charity inspired to collaborate with like-minded organizations and individuals who recognized the power of sport to transform lives. Its mission is to fund and support world-class sport medicine and science resources, including collaborative research, education, programs and facilities.