As the world’s elite athletes prepare for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, Toyota Canada is welcoming an exceptional roster of six Canadian athletes to their team.
Already world-class athletes, the members of Team Toyota have each taken a unique journey to the top, overcoming challenges, and achieving athletic excellence. We know them for their incredible athleticism, but now, these athletes are inspiring other Canadians—and a future generation of athletes—by sharing their stories.
“We’re thrilled to welcome these six incredible athletes to Team Toyota, who have been breaking barriers and uplifting their communities,” said Cyril Dimitris, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Toyota Canada. “Our Team Toyota athletes are remarkable examples of what’s possible through the power of human movement. By sharing their personal stories about what has helped shape them, beyond sport, we hope to encourage and inspire more Canadians to start their own ‘impossible’.”
Toyota launched Start Your Impossible before the Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018. In a global campaign, athletes from around the world shared their stories of how they achieved the seemingly impossible by unlocking their full potential through the power of movement.
The six Canadian athletes joining Team Toyota
Cindy Ouellet—Quebec (Wheelchair Basketball): Overcoming the odds and rising to the top
As a Wheelchair basketball veteran, Cindy Ouellet is no stranger to representing Canada on the global stage. Having already competed at five Paralympic Games and four Parapan Am Games, she is one of Canada’s biggest wheelchair basketball stars. But Cindy’s story is one about overcoming the odds and excelling.
Diagnosed with bone cancer at age 12, with a less than five percent chance of survival, and becoming a victim of cruel bullying as a child, Cindy’s determination helped her overcome impossible odds and achieve incredible success both in Para sports and academically. Now, Cindy is vocal in intersectional spaces and a motivational force.
Damian Warner—Ontario (Athletics – Decathlon): From Life’s Hurdles to Life’s Triumphs and Olympic Gold Medal
As the men’s decathlon champion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Damian Warner has established himself as one of the most accomplished athletes in the world. But his path to success wasn’t always as clear-cut.
Growing up in a low-income, single-parent household, Damian witnessed and experienced the burden parents can feel while trying to provide for their families and how easily a child can slip through the cracks if the right resources aren’t in place. Damian was fortunate to have a supportive network, including the immeasurable support of his mother and team of coaches. Now, he hopes to give back by encouraging underserved kids to excel in their passions.
Keely Shaw—Saskatchewan (Para-Cycling): Switching gears and cycling to the top
Canadian Para cyclist Keely Shaw’s journey to earning Canada’s first medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is a story of determination, overcoming adversity, and remarkable achievements. Keely was always a competitive athlete and becoming an elite hockey player was her childhood dream. But after a life-changing horse-riding injury left her with limited mobility at the age of 15, she found herself living through an identity crisis.
Re-learning her body and changed abilities, Keely regained her power through Para-cycling and is determined to change the perception of physical disabilities.
Philip Kim—British Columbia (Breaking): ‘breaking’ new ground and making history
Philip Kim, aka ‘Phil Wizard’, is one of the most creatively original competitors in the Breaking scene. With the sport of Breaking making its debut at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, Phil was suddenly catapulted from a minor celebrity in his niche community to one of Canada’s top Olympic prospects. With his athletic ability ignited young, and pursuing his passion for Breaking, Phil’s success was one filled with perseverance, overcoming doubt, and navigating family expectations as he went off the beaten path.
Now a trailblazer, Phil’s journey is a testament to the power of betting on yourself. Breaking becoming an official Olympic sport opened a whole other world of opportunities, and Philip’s mission is to inspire a new generation of breakers and future Olympians.
Tammara Thibeault—Quebec (Boxing): Smashing stereotypes in women’s boxing
World boxing champion and Olympian, Tammara Thibeault, wasn’t always sure where she fit in as a child. Finding her sense of belonging through sport, Tammara was inspired by her father to start training for boxing at the age of nine. As a biracial child born to a Haitian-Canadian mother and a French-Canadian father, Tammara looked different from her peers and was often bullied and made to feel like an outsider at school. But, fueled by her love for education and passion for boxing, Tammara emerged stronger and more resilient.
Quickly progressing in her boxing career, Tammara is determined to change the face of women’s boxing—fighting stereotypes and misconceptions on her way to the top.
Marissa Papaconstantinou—Ontario (Para Athletics—100m and 200m): Mind over matter—defying limits and inspiring the next generation of Canadian athletes.
Marissa Papaconstantinou’s journey to becoming a bronze medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games defied the limits of human potential and showcased the power of community, mindset, and determination. The 23-year-old Toronto native was born without a right foot, but that didn’t stop her from achieving personal and professional success.
Growing up in the Scarborough area of Toronto, Marissa was fortunate to have access to facilities that offered adaptive sports for children with disabilities. At the age of 11, she was fitted for her first running blade. Now, as a top athlete, Marissa is dedicated to elevating Para sport and inspiring the next generation of Paralympians.
To learn more about Team Toyota and Toyota’s activities as the official mobility partner of the Olympics and Paralympics Games, click here.