We sat down (virtually) with Erin Willson, former Olympian and current co-chair of the Safe Sport committee at AthletesCAN, to chat about her participation in the forum, “Athletes First: The Promotion of Safe Sport in Canada,” that will be held on June 16, 17, and 18 on Microsoft Teams. Willson will be speaking on the Athletes’ Voices panel, along with Allison Forsyth, on the first day of the event.
In our interview, we had a chance to speak with Willson about what safe sport means to her, as well as what attendees will gain from attending the virtual forum.
What does Safe Sport mean to you?
For me, Safe Sport means creating an environment where athletes can reach their highest potential without sacrificing their health and well-being. It means creating an environment where all participants (coaches, athletes, sport staff) feel safe, comfortable, confident and bring their full selves to do what they love.
How are you involved in Safe Sport?
I am a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto studying abuse in sport. I have spent the past 4 years in graduate school learning about all types of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect), and also learning how to be an advocate for athletes on these issues in the Canadian sport system.
Why should someone attend this forum?
There has been a growing awareness of the issues that athletes have faced in sport but there is less education and discussion about how to fix these issues and protect all sport stakeholders. I think this forum is an amazing opportunity to have an open discussion on how we as the sport community can move forward and create a safer sport environment.