Olympic Games Gold medallists Susie O'Neill and Kim Brennan have been announced as Deputy Chefs de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The pair join Olympic fencer Evelyn Halls in the key roles, rounding out Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman's leadership team for the Games.
Additionally, New South Wales Institute of Sport CEO Kevin Thompson has been appointed as Head of Performance Services.
The appointments were confirmed at the AOC Executive Meeting in Sydney today.
AOC President John Coates AC says he's pleased Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman has such solid support behind him.
"Each of these Olympians has special qualities to contribute to the Team environment and each will bring their own experience and perspective. They will prove a very important resource for Ian," Coates said.
Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman says the Deputy roles are critical in ensuring that the athletes' needs come first.
"We are focused on giving our athletes the very best opportunity to perform at their best. Our three Deputies totally understand the environment of Olympic competition, and will be a great support to our athletes and coaches in the team.
"It is very exciting to have such a high calibre group together. Each brings something different but each has a fantastic work ethic and great empathy for what's important to athletes," Chesterman said.
Winner of eight Olympic medals, Susie O'Neill AM says it's a privilege to again be part of the wonderful energy of an Olympic team.
"I'm hoping that I can provide that reassurance to the younger athletes. When they see that I am just an everyday person, they can believe in themselves and that anything is possible," O'Neill said.
Rio single scull Gold medallist Kim Brennan AM says to be contributing to the Team effort so soon after retirement is exciting.
"Every Olympian wants to keep contributing in one way or another. We have that bond. To be stepping into this role gives me the chance to make a different type of contribution," Brennan said.
Olympic fencer from the Sydney and Athens Games Evelyn Halls says it's an honour to be able to contribute in Tokyo.
"Undertaking the role of Chef de Mission for our Youth Olympic Team in Buenos Aires last year gave me a great appreciation of the difference you can make for our young athletes. To see that young team meld as a unit and really perform to their best was very satisfying," Halls said.
Kevin Thompson says he's very excited and privileged to be involved with the Australian Team for the Tokyo Olympics.
"Leading a team to deliver HQ performance support services whilst working closely with Dr David Hughes and his medical team is a great opportunity. I look forward to the challenge of the Games and working through the requirements of each sport to support them in optimising athlete performances," Thompson said.
The Australian Olympic Committee also announced the Chefs de Mission to lead Team Australia at the upcoming Pacific Games, San Diego World Beach Games and Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Olympic kayaker Kenny Wallace OAM, sports administrator John Boultbee AM and Winter Olympian moguls skier Ramone Cooper will lead Australian teams at the Pacific Games, San Diego World Beach Games and Winter Youth Olympic Games respectively.
Three-time Olympian and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Wallace will lead the team at July's Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa, which will pit Australia against 3000 athletes from 22 Pacific nations.
"If athletes can immerse themselves in the multi-sport environment and be part of a strong Australian team culture it will have an ongoing benefit, not only at the Pacific Games but in future Games as well as away from the sporting arena."
The inaugural San Diego World Beach Games in October 2019 will see athletes compete across 17 disciplines, including sports making their Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 like surfing, sport climbing and 3x3 basketball.
Boultbee, current head of high performance at Volleyball Australia has overseen sport at the highest level, including as Director of the Australian Institute of Sport from 1995 to 2001 and in roles across rowing, football and volleyball.
"The World Beach Games are an exciting new concept on the Olympic scene and a great opportunity for a number of sports to get competition and profile that often doesn't come their way," Boultbee said.
Lausanne, Switzerland will host the 3rd edition of the Winter Youth Olympics in January 2020, with Australia set to take on almost 2000 athletes from 80 countries.
Vancouver 2010 moguls skier Cooper is excited to lead a team in his new home of Lausanne, where he works for the World Academy of Sport.
"It's a privilege to be named to any Australian Olympic Team, and to be able to take on this role in my new adopted ‘home town' of Lausanne is special," Cooper said.