The NZOC has opened a nation-wide search for the Birmingham 2022 New Zealand Team Chef de Mission, as gold medal-winning Olympian Rob Waddell steps down from the role after 8 years.

A unique leadership role, the New Zealand Team Chef de Mission champions the needs of athletes inside complex and high-performance Games environments. The role ensures the New Zealand Team promotes athlete mana, wellbeing and performance at all times throughout the Games period.

Waddell, a three-time Olympic rower and gold medallist at Sydney 2000 in the single sculls, led the New Zealand Team to two Olympic Games (Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020) and two Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014, Gold Coast 2018).

NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith says Waddell has been an outstanding Chef de Mission and will be missed by athletes and sports.

“Rob absolutely was a champion for, and on behalf of, athletes and the New Zealand Team. I would like to express a huge amount of gratitude to Rob for the work he’s done to help make these Games campaigns some of our most successful,” said Smith.

“Rob has been extremely committed to the New Zealand Team and has always gone above and beyond, often in challenging circumstances, to create an environment which allows New Zealand’s elite athletes to perform at their peak. Notably in Rio, despite challenging conditions he ensured the Olympic Village was up to standard by the time New Zealand Team athletes arrived.

“More recently in Tokyo, Rob helped to oversee detailed planning for our team which kept our athletes and support team safe, while also allowing them to secure our biggest ever medal haul.

“We have been very fortunate to have Rob with us for two Olympic and Commonwealth cycles. We knew for some time that Tokyo would be his last campaign in the role, he leaves big shoes to fill but we are looking forward to appointing an excellent successor.”

Tokyo 2020 Te Pou Hapai Tane (male flagbearer) David Nyika also paid tribute to Waddell.

“Rob would do anything under the sun for us athletes. I feel so blessed to have shared three games experiences with Rob and have learnt so much from his unconditional dedication to excellence. He is the pillar that our athletes aspire to be.”
Rob Waddell thanked the New Zealand Olympic Committee, National Sporting Organisations, support teams and athletes.

“It’s been a real privilege and an honour to have been trusted with leading our Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams,” said Waddell.

“I’ve particularly enjoyed working with the athletes and wider team to create such a unique New Zealand Team environment, it’s something we’re all really proud to be a part of and I’m really thrilled with what we’ve achieved from Glasgow through to Tokyo.

“I’ve loved my time in the role and will miss it but am now looking forward to spending a bit more time with my family and contributing to our community in other ways.”

The NZOC has today begun a recruitment process for a new Chef de Mission for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year with an appointment expected before the end of October 2021.

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