Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2010
This description of Claudine Labelle's work was prepared when Claudine Labelle was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
Claudine Labelle is creating strong community networks to put sports back into the lives of teenage girls. She is increasing their self-esteem, and thereby improving their health, nutrition, and wellness as a whole through the use of sport and physical activity.
The New Idea
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


Former elite cyclist Claudine Labelle is passionate about sport, and she has always known about the benefits of exercise for physical and mental health.While training at an elite level, Claudine became involved with young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds with the goal of teaching them the importance ofphysical activity. She then found that adopting a healthy lifestyle and being fit is generally more important than competing. The alarming statistics on sedentary behaviour among teenage girls led her to the idea of developing a training program exclusively for girls. She founded FitSpirit in 2007 to encourage girls aged 12 to 17 to be active. Two years later, the FitClub training program was launched. The objective of FitClub is to introduce participants to their first 5K or10K race through a training program that runs 8 to 10 weeks, in which they signup on a voluntary basis, and which caps off with a major regional event. After meeting with participants, Claudine found that training in a recreational setting has a beneficial effect on self-esteem and staying in school. To date, more than 110,000 teenage girls from high schools in Ontario and Quebec have participated in the program.

In addition to FitSpirit, Claudine acts as mentor to several mentees. In 2016, she was awarded the Trophy for Sport and Innovation awarded by the International Olympic Committee. So what is Claudine’s greatest wish? That as many Canadian girls as possible live the FitSpirit experience. That wish is off to a great start!

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