The Canadian Paralympic Committee is pleased to announce that four-time Paralympic swimmer, Elisabeth Walker-Young, has been named Assistant Chef de Mission for the London 2012 Paralympic Summer Games. She will join Dr. Gaétan Tardif, Chef de Mission, to make up the core leadership of the Mission Staff Team that will lead Canada to its goal to be in the top 8 gold-medal winning nations at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
As a member of the Canadian Paralympic Swim Team for 13 years, Elisabeth competed at the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, and 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, winning three gold, one silver and two bronze medals overall. Throughout her swimming career, Elisabeth broke numerous Canadian and World records and was team captain for more than half of her career.
“Having been on Team Canada for so many years, I’m thrilled to be leading the Canadian Paralympic Team as the Assistant Chef de Mission,” said Elisabeth Walker-Young. “The London 2012 Paralympic Summer Games are particularly exciting since this is the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, led by Sir Ludwig Guttman. I look forward to working with Dr. Gaétan Tardif, Chef de Mission, in the coming months and think that his extensive Mission Staff experience combined with my athletic and professional background will give us diverse perspectives that we can use to ensure the 2012 Canadian Paralympic Team has everything they need to achieve their goals and reach the podium.”
Elisabeth is the ideal candidate for this role. In addition to her extensive experience as a competitor, Elisabeth also has the professional acumen and leadership expertise in sport. She has worked in sport administration in the development stage within the provincial sport system and has also managed international projects and operations for the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).
Elisabeth has been involved with the Canadian Paralympic Committee for years as a National Team Member, as a speaker through the Heroes program, as Co-chair of the Classification Taskforce, and as a member of the Paralympic Development Committee. Leading up to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Summer Games, Elisabeth co-facilitated the team building activities for Mission Staff and lead the Diversity and Sensitivity Training session. A Level 1 - NCCP certified swim coach, Elisabeth coached for one year upon her retirement from the sport. She is now a member of Swimming Natation Canada’s ParaSwimming Coach and Athlete Selection Committee and guest coaches when opportunities present themselves.
“We are so fortunate to have an Assistant Chef de Mission of the calibre of Elisabeth Walker-Young,” said Dr. Gaétan Tardif, Chef de Mission. “As a member of the past six Mission Staff Teams, I have learned the importance of having a former athlete involved in the planning and leadership of a Paralympic Games. Elisabeth will be able to see the process from the perspective of an athlete and this unique point of view will give us a great advantage in London. I look forward to working with her leading up to and at these Games.”
The Assistant Chef de Mission and the Chef de Mission will work together to help Canadian Paralympic athletes achieve their performance goals at the London 2012 Paralympic Summer Games by acting as the official representatives and spokespersons for the Canadian Paralympic Team. Gaétan and Elisabeth will oversee the Canadian Team’s operational planning and logistics, promote the exploits of Canada’s elite Paralympic summer athletes, and raise awareness of Paralympic sport and the Canadian Team across the country and around the world. Together they will lead team building initiatives for the Canadian Paralympic Mission Staff to create a strong and cohesive support team for Canadian athletes at the Paralympic Games.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games will take place from August 29 to September 9.