Meet a YMM Parent – Q&A with Kim Rizzi
Kim Rizzi began her life in multi-organized sports as a basketball scholar at Brandon University in Manitoba. It was the beginning of her 30-year career that has taken her across the globe to work in 14 different multi-level competition events, including the world’s foremost sports competition, the Olympics.
Kim moved to Fort McMurray with her husband, Frank, and their two, now teenaged children, Camilla and Anthony, in 2012, after she got the call to lead the region’s 2015 Western Canada Summer Games as the general manager. Today, she finds herself in a similar role as the GM for the Wood Buffalo 2022 Arctic Winter Games.
With Camilla being a recent École McTavish Public High School graduate and Anthony, currently enrolled in Grade 11 and playing hockey in Manitoba, Kim has a bustling schedule but shared she wouldn’t want it any other way. And, she said above all of her career achievements it’s her two children who are her gold medals.
“Camilla and Anthony are so smart and tenacious in everything they do. I love their kind souls and infectious smiles. I am really proud of the good people we raised,” she said. “When you look back at things, I think that is the most important job I have ever had.”
YMM Parent caught up with Kim to learn more about parenthood, her life in the region’s world of sports and how she lives by the quote, “Work hard. Love hard.”
YMM Parent: Let’s first start with balancing work as the GM of 2022 AGW Games and home life with teenagers, what’s your schedule like?
Kim Rizzi: It’s a juggle in this busy role. I have always made my family priority, so I try to arrange my schedule to have a sit-down, home-cooked dinner every night. No matter how busy we are, we have always made this a priority to catch up on the day. But from six in the morning to six at night, I don’t stop running.
YP: As a mom of two, did anything surprise you about raising your children?
KR: I never thought I would have enough patience for two kids, twenty-one months apart. Kids are totally adaptable and surprise me every day. I felt complete love the first time I held them both. They have and will always be my world!
YP: What are your favourite things to do with your family in the Wood Buffalo region?
KR: We love hanging out in our backyard with friends, watching our kids playing their sport and Saturday night homemade pizza. And, of course, the sauce that simmers all day for Sunday dinner. Fort McMurray quickly became our home. We always tried to help out where we could, and both Frank and I got really involved in the community. Both kids played volleyball and hockey through local programs and both had opportunities to move on to bigger things.
YP: You have an incredible wealth of knowledge when it comes to the importance of multi-sport events. Could you tell us how our region benefits from being a Games host?
KR: Hosting the Games in the Wood Buffalo region is important for the community, and the economic impact is enormous. Games bring together 3,000 volunteers to share their pride in our community and to showcase our world-class sports facilities and adds millions of dollars of impact on the community. I have always encouraged those around me to be ambassadors for our community. And with the Games, we can change the mindset of Canadians’ impressions on Fort McMurray.
YP: And lastly, what keeps you calling Fort McMurray home? What do you enjoy most about living here?
KR: Fort McMurray is a busy, fast-paced life, filled with work and sports. People that move here are here to work hard and make a better life for their family. I am inspired every day!
The Rizzi Family at Camilla’s graduation in June 2020. Left to right: Anthony, Kim, Camilla and Frank.
Frank Rizzi with his son, Anthony, at hockey practice during a Fort McMurray Junior Oil Barons season.
Kim Rizzi at her interview with Sportsnet for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games in the Wood Buffalo region. Supplied photos