World Champion Hurdler | Two-Time Olympian
Perdita Felicien is a two-time Olympian, 10-time National Champion, two-time World silver medalist, and the only Canadian woman to win a World Championship gold medal in track and field. During her career as a 100-metre hurdler she earned numerous honours, including Canada’s Athlete of the Year and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. In her inspiring talks, Felicien explores what it means to chase a dream and overcome the “hurdles” life can put before you.
In high school, after briefly quitting track altogether, Felicien earned a full scholarship to the University of Illinois, and became a three time NCAA champion and academic standout. Her success continued as a professional when she represented Canada at six World Championship competitions, and at two Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004. A favourite at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Felicien fell at the first barrier in the finals and couldn’t finish the race. She showed grace under fire in that moment, and has used the experience to teach others how to persevere and rise again.
After retiring in 2013, Felicien has worked as a broadcaster, covering the 2015 Pan American Games and the summer Olympics in Rio for the CBC.
Felicien is an advocate for Right to Play and The Denise House. She is also the author of the upcoming memoir, My Mother’s Daughter, about her mother’s flight from St. Lucia, her rocky childhood, and how, through her mother’s strength, she found the courage to pursue her athletic dreams.