Outstanding New Zealand athlete and Olympian Rob Waddell has been named Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Summer Olympic and Commonwealth Games Teams. A two-time World Rowing Champion and Olympic gold medal winner (men’s single sculls Sydney 2000), Waddell will bring an in-depth understanding of high performance sport to the role. He has a string of top New Zealand sporting honours to his name and is currently a senior member of Emirates Team New Zealand, vice-chair (former chair) of the Home of Cycling Trust and co-owner of a family business.
Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith is delighted to have appointed Waddell to this leadership role. “Rob has what it takes to make sure the environment is right for athletes to achieve at Olympic Games. He knows sport and the needs of elite athletes, is highly respected and sets a clear standard of excellence. He also has as strong focus on the benefits of sport to the community. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team.”
Waddell said his appointment to the Chef de Mission role was a once in a lifetime opportunity. “It’s a unique position and I’m honoured to have been appointed, he said. “We’ve just come off the back of our most successful Olympic Games ever and I’m determined that continues.”
He felt that his own Olympic experience will be critical in his new role. “I’ve been to three Olympic Games and experienced them not just as a successful gold medal winner but also as a wide-eyed first-timer and again as an athlete struggling to meet expectations. That broad perspective will help better understand our top athletes.” High Performance Sport CEO Alex Baumann said he had absolute confidence in Waddell’s ability to deliver. “Rob has a depth of understanding and experience across high performance sport. He’s known for his commitment to excellence and we look forward to a strong partnership with him as we plan for Rio 2016.”
Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, congratulated Waddell. “We’re delighted for Rob. He is an outstanding individual and is ideally suited to the position. He commands respect and is a brilliant team player.”
Waddell’s role with the New Zealand Olympic Team will not impact on existing Emirates Team New Zealand commitments. Waddell was selected for the Chef de Mission role by a panel comprising Olympic athletes, an Olympic coach as well as representatives of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and HPSNZ. They were Mike Stanley, President NZOC, Kereyn Smith, Secretary General NZOC, Alex Bauman, CEO HPSNZ, Chantal Brunner, Olympian and New Zealand Athletes’ Commission representative, Mark Hager, Olympian and Coach (Women’s Black Sticks) and Jake Wilkins, Team Services Director, NZOC.
As Chef de Mission, Waddell will lead the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. He will be responsible for setting standards of excellence, overseeing the planning and preparation of the games management teams and ensuring the athletes and their NSOs have what they need to achieve within the complex Olympic and Commonwealth Games environments.
Waddell will be New Zealand’s 18th Chef de Mission for the Summer Olympic Games. Sir Arthur Porritt (1924 Paris and 1936 Berlin) was New Zealand’s first Chef de Mission.