Madame Butterfly is Chef de Mission for Nanjing
16 November 2012
YOG: Susie O’Neill has accepted an invitation to lead Australia’s Team to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China, in 2014.
The triple Olympian was appointed to the role of Chef de Mission by a meeting of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Executive Board in Melbourne today.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the Australian Olympic Team again,” the eight-time Olympic medallist said.
“This is the first tip toe back into the water. I really look forward to being around elite sport again and I’ll be doing my best to lead the 2014 Youth Olympic Team.”
The appointment marks O’Neill’s second foray into the non-competitive side of the Olympic movement after being elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission in 2000.
Following the birth of her two children, O’Neill resigned from the Commission in 2005 to spend more time with her young family.
“I really enjoyed being on the IOC Athletes’ Commission and I always hoped when the kids were old enough I’d get to do be involved in the Olympic movement again.”
O’Neill will take charge of a team of approximately 100 athletes aged 15-18 heading to China as Nanjing hosts the second summer YOG. The first edition in 2010 launched the careers of three 2012 Australian Olympians, including London silver medallist Jessica Fox.
“The Youth Olympic Games is such a great opportunity for these young athletes to virtually see the whole Olympic process,” O’Neill said.
“For me to be able to have a slight impact on their future careers is one of the reasons why I wanted to take on this role.”
The dual Olympic Champion is the second woman chosen as Chef de Mission of an Australian Youth Olympic Team. Alisa Camplin led the Australian Team at the first Winter YOG in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 2012.
“I spoke to Alisa about the role and I know how much she enjoyed Innsbruck and how great an experience it was for her and the entire Winter Youth Olympic Team earlier this year.
“Alisa did say there would be challenges, but I look forward to those challenges and I know that I will have a massive amount of support around me from the AOC. I really look forward to learning from the athletes too and helping them become senior Olympians.”
AOC President John Coates thanked O’Neill for accepting the position.
“I am thrilled that Susie will lead our Team to the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing,” Coates said.
“I just know that the 2014 Youth Olympic Team will do us proud under her leadership.”
The YOG will run from 16-28 August 2014 capping a big Olympic year for the AOC and IOC, with the Winter Olympic Games also being contested in Sochi, Russia from 7-23 February 2014.