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GUELPH, 23 April 2024

The Good Games – Canada’s biggest festival of sport – will welcome over 1,500 athletes and 15,000+ festival goers to the University of Guelph on July 6th and 7th. Athletes of all ages, from across North America and as far away as Hawaii, including former Olympians, pros, and recreational athletes, will participate in twelve different sports events ranging from beach volleyball to slo-pitch and basketball.

Come and watch former Olympians and pro athletes in action as they compete in:

  • Elite 2s beach volleyball playing on a court built in the centre of the festival
  • The Canadian Freestyle Soccer Championships
  • The Canadian National Pickleball League pro competition that will include Canada’s best players
  • The Canadian National Teqball Championship – soccer meets table tennis in the world’s second fastest growing sport!

Come and play at The Good Games’ free and family-friendly festival. Anyone and everyone can try out a new sport or activity in a no-pressure environment, including:

  • Testing skills in a 175-foot inflatable obstacle course
  • Learning rugby, pickleball, axe throwing, and road tennis skills
  • Competing in a golf tee-off, dodgeball games, and three-legged races
  • Trying out Indigenous sports like lacrosse and high kick, and learning more about Indigenous culture and heritage, thanks to our partnership with the Indigenous Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario

And we’ll be hosting a Canadian Iron Dog competition with Iron Dog Canada, a fun event for our canine friends!

The GOOD Games promotes the transformational power of sport to inspire, motivate, and change lives. Physical activity supports mental health and wellness and can create a sense of belonging and community. Whether you’re an athlete or a festival goer, The GOOD Games captures the pure joy of sport, no matter the age of the participant.

Athlete Profiles:

Dawn Cole: an accomplished athlete who began playing soccer at the age of 47!

No one demonstrates the joy of sport better than Dawn Cole, 75 years young and the goalkeeper for the Still Kicking soccer team from Sacramento, California – a team heading to The GOOD Games to participate in the women’s soccer tournament. Dawn is a retired lawyer and the mother of three now-grown boys. Her connection to soccer was initially limited to watching her kids play and thinking “That looks like so much fun. I should do that!” As her boys grew, so too did her interest in moving from the sidelines onto the playing field. At the age of 50, she organized an indoor team, Mums on the Run. Now 75, she is still defending the net on a team of 14 women over 50, nine of whom are getting close to 80! As Dawn says,

“Sports benefit you in every single way – mentally, physically, socially. Sports folks are interesting people. They are interested in life. They are people you want to know.”

Dawn recognizes the important life skills that develop from playing a sport – learning how to work with others as a team, how to win and how to lose, and having confidence in ourselves and our abilities. She reflects poignantly that so many women of her generation never had the opportunity to play organized sports and to develop these skills. She is, however, immensely happy that young female athletes today have a wealth of sporting opportunities to pursue. With the Masters sports movement experiencing the largest increase in membership of any sporting movement, Dawn’s is one inspiring story amongst many that will be found at The GOOD Games!

Julie Springer-Aass: “I feel more alive now than I ever have, thanks to sport.”

The Ottawa Golden Cleats – a women’s 50+ soccer team – will also be making the trip to Guelph this summer for The GOOD Games. Julie Springer-Aass, a forward with the Cleats, speaks with pure joy about the team and about being active in sports:

“The team is like a family, we are like sisters. Being part of the Golden Cleats is one of the best things in my life . . . I feel more alive now than I ever have, thanks to sports. It’s my medicine. It is what I give myself every day – either a run, or a game with the Cleats – it’s the one thing that’s vital every day.”

Julie reflects on how the meaning of sport has evolved for many of the team members, now that most are of a more mature age, and several are cancer survivors. A third of her teammates didn’t start playing soccer until they were in their mid-40s and that said something about their need and desire to be active. But, that activity didn’t have to “look” the way it did when they were 18. That’s the transformative piece of sport – “Being active doesn’t have to look like the we’re in the Olympics to give us that same energy and joy,” reflects Julie.

The Golden Cleats see The GOOD Games as a great opportunity to meet new people, play some good games, watch some amazing elite athletes, and to show off everything there is to offer in Canada. We are excited to welcome the Cleats and all of the teams to The GOOD Games this summer and to honour the impact they are having in encouraging everyone not to be afraid to stay active!

Kristina May: Olympic beach-volleyball player to compete at The GOOD Games

Making her first appearance at The GOOD Games this year is Olympic beach volleyball player, Kristina May. She competed for Canada in the 2016 Rio Olympics and is now returning to the sun and sand for the elite competition at The GOOD Games. Kristina grew up in an active family. Her father was a dedicated mountain biker and cross-country skier. Her brother has competed for Canada in two Olympic Games, as a cross-country skier. Deciding that skiing was “too cold,” Kristina started volleyball in grade 11, made a club team, and then got picked up to play team volleyball for the University of Toronto. From there, the transition to beach 2s as a career was an obvious one.

Kristina likes the pressure that sports bring:

“It’s fun to challenge yourself physically. Doing a sport is extra-special – the exhilaration of winning, the emotion of losing – you don’t get that when you aren’t playing a sport.”

And when it comes to The GOOD Games, what is Kristina expecting to experience? While she has dabbled in competitive sport since retiring in 2018 to raise her children, she shares:

“I’m going to enjoy every moment. I’m hoping to feel that competitive feeling again, to relive the ‘glory days.’ And when I say that ‘competitive feeling,’ I mean that feeling of overcoming pressure, nerves, and self-doubt and still performing. Sports puts you to the test and to come out triumphant is a feeling that’s hard to describe. It is something that only sport can give you.”

It is a huge honour for us to welcome Kristina to The GOOD Games and watching her compete will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the entire weekend!

The GOOD Games
July 6 – 7, 2024
University of Guelph campus
The Good Games – Canada’s Biggest Festival of Sport

To arrange an interview with Helen Stoumbos or the athletes profiled here:
Carrie Irvine

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