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Airdrie Elite Athlete

Airdrie has produced many elite athletes competing in national and international sporting events who are leading the way in athletic excellence. The Airdrie Elite Athlete Recognition Policy (PDF) recognizes athletes that have achieved exceptional status in their sport. The nominated individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been a resident of Airdrie (as defined by the school attendance boundaries) for a minimum of three years and have made significant community contributions.
  • Reached an exceptional level of athletic achievement at a sanctioned national or international competition, or set national or international records, or achieved national or international titles while competing.
  • Team nominations require a minimum of 50 per cent of its members must be Airdrie residents.

The athlete’s accomplishments will be proudly displayed at Genesis Place and will be recognized publicly.

Nominate an Elite Athlete

To submit a nomination, please with the following:

  • Nominee's name and contact information
  • Your name and contact information
  • A brief comment about why the nominee qualifies for an Elite Athlete award.

The Community Development team will review and compile all nominations. Additional follow-up may be required.

Thank you in advance for your nomination! 

Our Elite Athletes

Farah Walker posing with her certificate with a banner in the background saying "Airdrie's Elite Athlete"Farah Walker

Farah Walker is a native of Airdrie and one of the 2023 Elite Athlete recipients. She is a dynamic hockey player known for her fast reflexes and agility in the net. Starting her career at a young age, Farah quickly rose through the ranks, demonstrating remarkable skill and dedication. With an unwavering passion for the game, she continues to make her mark, representing Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 team with pride and determination. Farah is a gold medallist in the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship and a silver medallist in the 2021 U18 Team Alberta Western Regional Championships.

Brooke Mauro posing with her certificate with a banner in the background saying "Airdrie's Elite Athleteamp;quot

Brooke Mauro

A 2023 Elite Athlete recipient, Brooke Mauro, is a standout baton twirling athlete, captivating audiences with her precision and flair. From early beginnings, she honed her skills, earning accolades in local and regional competitions, moving her way up to international championships. Brooke's commitment to excellence and artistic expression sets her apart in the world of baton twirling, showcasing both athleticism and grace in her captivating performances. Brooke has represented team Canada in the 2019 International Cup, won silver and bronze in the 2017 International Cup, gold (3) at the 2020 Pan Pacific Cup and bronze at the 2022 World Baton Twirling Competition.

Makenna VandenBrink posing with her certificate with a banner in the background saying "Airdrie's Elite Athlete"

Makenna VandenBrink

Airdrie's pride and a 2023 Elite Athlete recipient, Makenna VandenBrink, is a dedicated taekwondo athlete whose journey began with a passion for martial arts. With relentless training and a fierce spirit, she has excelled in local and national competitions, earning accolades for her skill and discipline. Makenna's commitment to her craft is evident, making her a respected figure not just in Airdrie, but also the national taekwondo community. She has won bronze and gold at the 2023 National Championships and 2022 Westerns Tournament respectively for Sparring, silver and gold in the 2023 National Championships and 2022 Westerns Tournament respectively for Specialty Techniques and bronze in the 2023 World Taekwondo Championships.

Sienna MacDonald wears a white singlet with a track and field bib pinned to it that says MacDonald. She  is standing on an outdoor running track with the sun shining behind her.

Sienna MacDonald

A 2022 Elite Athlete recipient, Sienna MacDonald began competing in Track and Field while attending George McDougall High School in Airdrie. She has racked up an impressive record including winning a national championship in Heptathlon, a Canada West championship in Pentathlon, and a gold medal in the 60m hurdles at the Simplot games. She has made many contributions to the local sport community coaching basketball and officiating Track and Field. She went on to compete with the University of Calgary Dinos.

Chad Anheilger stands in a UFC ring facing the camera, he holds up his right arm pumping his fist while a fight official holds up his left arm to signal his fight win.

Chad Anheliger

A long-standing resident of Airdrie and a 2022 Elite Athlete recipient, Chad Anheliger has reached the pinnacle of Mixed Martial Arts by competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). His hard work, determination and skill shows through his outstanding win record, earning him a spot amongst the best in the world in his sport. He was the 2022 Las Vegas UFC debut winner by knockout; the 2021 Winner of Dana White Contender Series for which he was awarded a UFC contract; and he won the 2019 Bantamweight Championship Canadian Pro Title by knockout.

Chase Kelln and Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown hold up the 2019 Elite Athlete Award

Chase Kelln

One of the recipients of Airdrie’s 2019 Elite Athlete award. Chase has made exceptional achievements in the BMX world. Chase Kelln was on Team Alberta from 2009 to 2013 and was a five-time Canadian National Champion from 2009 to 2013. 

James Brown and Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown hold up the 2019 Elite Athlete Award

James Brown

One of the recipients of Airdrie’s 2019 Elite Athlete award. James has made exceptional achievements in the BMX world. James Brown was the 2010 Cycling Canada Elite National Champion, and in 2009 was the BMX Canada National #1 Pro.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Piper posing during award ceremony


At a very young age, Piper was constantly moving, skipping, jumping and tapping her feet. Seeing this energy in her daughter, Piper's mother signed her up for dance lessons. It didn't take long for the sport to become her passion, and although performing on stage was frightening at first, it is now Piper's favourite place to be. In 2016, Piper began ballet at YYC Dance Project and experienced immediate success, placing first in her competition for her classical variation. Recently, she competed in her first international competition, placing in the top 12 for her contemporary solo at the Youth American Grand Prix in Las Vegas. Piper doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon as she says she falls more in love with ballet at each practice and feels blessed every time she gets up on stage.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Danica posing during award ceremony


At the age of six, Danica's family moved from Nova Scotia to Trinidad and Tobago - the start of big things for Danica's future in swimming. When they first arrived, Danica's parents signed her up for swimming lessons. Unbeknownst to them, they had signed her up for competitive swimming, something that may have intimidated a six year old. For Danica however, it sparked a passion for the sport. Danica and her family relocated to Airdrie when she was nine. In a short amount of time, Danica had already gone on to compete at many provincial and national competitions. In 2015, she broke the 15-17 Alberta provincial record in the 4 x 100 medley relay, which still stands today. She is currently a member of the University of Calgary Dino's Swim Team, specializing in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Keely Brown curling on ice

Keely Brown

Born and raised in Airdrie and attending University at the University of Alberta in Edmonton still considers Airdrie home. Keely is a well-rounded athlete and a dedicated volunteer. Keely is a volunteer curling instructor in Airdrie, Calgary and Alberta Rocks Curling Camp. She finds the time to volunteer at the Airdrie Food Bank and at the Airdrie Festival of Lights.

Keely has achieved a lot of her goals at a young age. She is the 2013 and 2014 Canadian inter-university Sport Women's Curling Champion and the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Women's Junior curling Champion and the 2014 World junior Champion.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Janelle Desmarais-Moen posing on a gymnastics mat during an event

Janelle Desmarais-Moen

Janelle Desmarais-Moen's athletic career in the sport of Trampoline and Tumbling has seen her compete as part of the Airdrie Edge Gymnastics Club team, as well as having placed on Team Alberta and Team Canada. As an athlete Janelle is not only talented, but she is also hard-working, dedicated and enthusiastic. Not only is Janelle a skilled athlete in her sport, she is giving back to the community as a coach of Provincial level athletes. These young athletes definitely see Janelle as a role model and positive mentor.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Eric poses in his winter gear


Eric has always shown a high level of moral and work ethics. Always competing fairly against very aggressive opponents, Eric has been a modest winner and gracious in defeat. His regime of training over the years in the luge program has demonstrated his determination and self-motivation, allowing him to lead by example to his peers and younger athletes. Eric holds the Canadian speed record for the luge track at COP and has the best ever finish for a Canadian luger at the Olympics where he placed 5th in 202 at Salt Lake City.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Emily performs a Karate kick on the floor


Emily is dedicated, hardworking and most of all kind and friendly to all of her fellow athletes. She carries herself with pride and shows un-equaled sportsmanship in everything she does. Her efforts and talents have taken her to the pinnacle of Canadian Karate, medalling at the last four National Events. Emily took silver at the Canadian National Championships and was named to the Canadian National team in 2012 and represented Canada at the US Open Championship were she took the bronze.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Corissa flips upside down during a gymnastics event


Corissa has consistently been one of the hardest working athletes in any of the trampoline disciplines. Her commitment to perfecting her performance led her to make significant personal sacrifices, as all of her energy and efforts went toward competition preparation. In 2010 she was crowned World Champion when she won the gold medal at the Individual World Championships. Corissa has volunteered and participated in fundraising at the Airdrie Gymnastics Club.

Airdrie Elite Athlete Darrell Belyk shows off his arm and trophy

Darrell Belyk

Darrell is a man of strong values and determination. He has competed in his chosen sport of arm wrestling for over 24 years and has won many National and World titles. During this time he has promoted the City of Airdrie as an excellent venue to host arm wrestling events. Darrell is a huge supporter of volunteering for community organizations and events. He also serves as a member of Airdrie City Council.