Local three-time Olympian name Ambassador for Ontario Winter Games
Renfrew County's own Melissa Bishop-Nriagu has been named the Ambassador for the Renfrew County 2023 Ontario Winter Games as she aims to inspire the next generation of local athletes. Born and raised in the Ottawa Valley, Bishop-Nriagu hails from Eganville and is a three-time Olympian in Track and Field in the 800-metre event. She competed at 2012, 2016 (finishing fourth) and 2020 Summer Olympics and won a silver medal at the 2015 World Championships. The silver medal win was the first ever medal in the 800m by a Canadian woman and she currently holds the Canadian record in the 800m.
The three-time Olympian will be addressing the athletes during both outdoor Opening Ceremonies on February 2nd and February 9th at Ma-te-Way Park in Renfrew. Her message to the athletes at the Games is to compete well, but also to have fun with a smile on their faces and to create memories that will last a lifetime.
"I am so thrilled our community gets to host the Ontario Winter Games this year, growing up I had no idea that I would be a role model in my community but as I take on this role, I understand how important it is for our youth to see that anybody can make it on the world stage," said Bishop-Nriagu. "You too can have big dreams, come from a small community, like Renfrew County, and make it. Just remember to be ambitious and be persistent with what your dreams are."
Renfrew County Warden Peter Emon, Chair of the Games Organizing Committee, says he is extremely excited to have Bishop-Nriagu serve as the 2023 Ontario Winter Games Ambassador. "Melissa has such a compelling story of dedication and hard work which will resonate with many of our young athletes coming to Renfrew County and with our friends, families and neighbours," said Emon. "Her success as an athlete and her genuineness as a person has been an ongoing point of community and individual pride for many of us."
Emon adds that he believes Bishop-Nriagu is an excellent example of the Ontario Winter Games' values. "Every day Melissa has exemplified our Games' values of respect, integrity, teamwork, responsibility, accountability and excellence as a successful high-performance athlete, as a student and as a person," said Emon.
The Ontario Winter Games come to Renfrew County from February 2nd to 5th and February 9th to 12th, 2023. The Games will feature 2,200 young athletes competing in 22 different sports at venues across Renfrew County and into Kanata. The event will be run with the help of more than 750 volunteers.
With files by CFRA's Connor Ray