Alyson Charles & Jordan Belchos Named Recipients of Peter Williamson Memorial Bursary

Each student-athlete will receive a $1,500 bursary to support their educational pursuits

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Speed Skating Canada is proud to announce that national team short track skater Alyson Charles and long track skater Jordan Belchos were selected as this year’s recipients of the Peter Williamson Memorial Bursary, an annual award given to promising skaters who best combine athletic and scholastic achievements.

Since being established in 1992, the Peter Williamson Memorial Bursary has supported the educational pursuits of over 70 national team athletes, many of whom have gone on to represent Canada on the World Cup circuit and at the Olympic Games. This prestigious award is named in honour of the late Peter Williamson (1946-1991), a 1968 Olympian who held coaching and technical roles for both the Manitoba Speed Skating Association and the Canadian Amateur Speed Skating Association, who believed sport and education could be combined to truly stimulate success in each other.

Each year, dozens of student-athletes are evaluated on their combination of athletic and scholastic achievements; commitment to balancing training and schoolwork; ability to communicate well with coaches, teammates and classmates; and ability to demonstrate leadership qualities both on and off the ice. An up-and-coming short track skater and a long track veteran, both with ambitious educational goals, rose to the top of this year’s crop of applicants.

Alyson Charles (Montreal, Que.)

Charles is currently a CEGEP student at Collège de Maisonneuve in Montreal, where she is only a few classes away from earning her college diploma in Human Sciences (Administration). After graduation, the 21-year-old plans to pursue a university degree in Business Administration and then continue her education afterwards in finance or international trade.

On the ice, Charles helped the women’s short track relay team win five World Cup medals this past season, including their first gold since the 2014-2015 season. She finished her second campaign on the international circuit ranked 12th overall in the 500m and 13th overall in the 1000m, winning a silver medal at the inaugural ISU Four Continents Championships, where she was finished fifth overall.

In addition to school and skating, Charles still finds time to give back to her community. Over the past few years, she has been visiting local clubs, including her former home the CPV Montreal St-Michel, where she helps by giving technical advice and encouragement to young skaters. This past year she also gave her first public presentation, talking about her journey and her sport with roughly 200 primary school students from St-Léonard.

Jordan Belchos (Toronto, Ont.)

The 31-year-old Belchos is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, with a minor in Architecture, at the University of Calgary. His goal is to complete his undergraduate degree following the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Afterwards, he plans on either doing a Master of Architecture or pursuing a career in urban planning.

This past season was Belchos’ most successful on the international stage. The 13-year veteran of the national team program won silver in the mass start at the World Single Distance Championships and finished the season ranked sixth overall in the discipline, thanks in part to a gold medal from the World Cup in Nagano. He helped the men’s team pursuit squad win silver and bronze on the World Cup circuit, while also earning four top-10 results in the 5000m, propelling him to a ninth overall ranking in the long distances.

Belchos leads by example both on and off the ice, influencing his teammates with his elite habits, professionalism, positive attitude and work ethic. He also finds time to give back to speed skating clubs across the country, which this season included an online training seminar with members of BC Speed Skating.

QUOTES

"I am honoured to have been selected by Speed Skating Canada to receive this bursary. This is a great recognition that encourages me to continue my efforts both on the ice and in the classroom. A huge thanks to the Williamson-Derraugh family for their support! And above all, thank you for accompanying me in the pursuit of my goals." – Alyson Charles

"For years I have heard stories of how great of a man Peter Williamson was, and so to receive a bursary in his name is an immense honour. As the recipient of the bursary, I cannot help but feel humbled and moved to be a better student, leader and athlete by the magnitude of Peter Williamson’s remarkable legacy. Thank you to the Williamson-Derraugh family for this honour, it is profoundly meaningful to me." – Jordan Belchos

“On behalf of the Williamson-Derraugh family, we would like to congratulate Alyson and Jordan. It is fantastic to see Speed Skating Canada continue to uphold this initiative by supporting its athletes and continuing our father’s legacy.” – Tyler Williamson Derraugh