Canadian health technology entrepreneur raises money for Canadian medalists in Paris


Canada's medalists in Paris will receive an increase in podium prize money. A donation from Canadian health technology entrepreneur Sanjay Malaviya of Hespeler, Ontario.

Canada's medalists in Paris will receive an increase in podium prize money.

Through a donation from Canadian health technology entrepreneur Sanjay Malaviya of Hespeler, Ontario, athletes will receive a gold medal worth a total of $25,000, a silver medal worth $20,000 and a bronze medal worth $15,000.

The 2024 Olympics will begin on July 26 and end on August 11, followed by the Paralympic Games from August 28 to September 8.

Malaviya has renewed the $5,000 per medal grants he awarded retroactively in 2022 to Canada's 130 Olympic and 53 Paralympic medalists at this year's Winter Games in Beijing and also at the Summer Games in Tokyo in 2021.

“During COVID, I woke up early and read the news. It was during the last Olympic cycle and an Australian businessman had donated $5,000 to each Australian Summer Olympics because he was just so happy that the team went to the Olympics and did so well,” he said. ” I was just like, 'Wow, who does this in Canada?'”

The continuation of its Team Canada Podium Awards at both the Paris Games and the 2026 Winter Games in Milan-Cortina, Italy, is in addition to the $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze , awarded to athletes by the Olympic and Paralympic Committees of Canada.

“I really wanted the money to go directly to the athletes,” Malaviya said. “I received many calls from Olympians and Paralympians who were very happy about the recognition and recognition. That overwhelmed me. I didn’t really expect that.”

“It just showed that it made a difference for them, which is what I was really trying to do in my heart.”

For comparison, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's “Project Gold” awards $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze.

Malaviya, of Hespeler, Ontario, was also a driving force behind the recent announcement that Canada's Paralympic medalists in Paris will be financially rewarded for the first time, at the same level as Olympic athletes who have received medal bonuses since 2006.

Malaviya has committed $4 million to an $8 million endowment fund to ensure future medal money for Paralympians.

The 56-year-old RL Solutions founder and CEO also renewed a $100,000 donation to NextGen Athletes.

“He is truly passionate about helping Team Canada athletes reach the podium,” said Jacqueline Ryan, executive director of the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

“He is a nation builder, he cares about the role of these athletes, so he wants to fund them and make sure they have all the resources they need on the way to the podium because they inspire us all.”

Malaviya founded RL Solutions in Toronto in 1997 to develop healthcare software for patient feedback, incident reporting and risk management.

The company merged with a London-based company in 2018 and became RL Datix. Malaviya remains a board member of a company with 3,000 customers and 2,000 employees in 19 countries.

In addition to medal grants and his donation to the Paralympic Committee Foundation for Medal Funds, Malaviya has provided over $6 million to Canadian athletes since 2022.

“When you think about the caliber of people who compete at this level on the world stage, there's just no other way to get there than to be resilient, to be persistent, to know how to deal with failure, than to get up when you get knocked down and start over,” Malaviya said.

“There is simply no other way to become an Olympian, and to win a medal beyond that, you have to be on my books and represent all the values ​​that I think are important.”

“I have children and I need to talk to them about what I think is important. Almost every value that I try to highlight as timeless, critical and important is embodied by an Olympian.”

“Anything that brings us together, excites us in a positive way, makes us forget our differences and really unite, that's something I really want to support and show that, in my opinion, these are the best qualities that we as humans can have.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee receives no government funding. It finances its operations through corporate sponsorships. The founding branch raises money through private, individual donations.

“The Malaviya Foundation is one of our largest donors ever,” Ryan said. “Despite everything we try, athletes still don’t have the resources they need to compete on the world stage.”

Malaviya's grants and medal money paid to athletes from the COC's Athlete Excellence Fund and the CPC's Paralympic Performance Recognition program are taxable.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2024.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press