Juneau and Podborski Appointed as Assistant Chefs de Mission for Canada at 2010 Games

Olympic medallists Steve Podborski (Toronto) and Joé Juneau (Pont-Rouge, Quebec) were named today as Assistant Chefs de Mission for the Canadian Olympic Team at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Podborski, a member of the “Crazy Canucks” alpine team, and Juneau, an 11-year National Hockey League (NHL) veteran, will join Canada’s Chef de Mission Nathalie Lambert in supporting the country’s athletes and coaches in their quest to own the podium in February 2010.

“As an Olympian and a fan supporting our Canadian Olympic team in Vancouver in 2010, I am humbled to be asked for more,” Podborski said. “To be able to help our athletes succeed and reach the top is wonderful. I am totally pumped to have the chance to make a difference in their performance. These Games could very well end up being the best Olympic experience of my life and they’ve been darn good already.”

In 1980, Podborski became the first North American man to win an Olympic medal in downhill skiing – a bronze in Lake Placid. On the national alpine team from 1974 to 1984, he had eight career World Cup victories and reached the podium in 20 of 89 races. For the 1981-82 season, Podborski won the overall World Cup title, becoming the first non-European ever do so. An Officer of the Order of Canada (1982), Podborski was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. He has been Canada’s Athlete of the Year twice. A member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, he was Executive Director of International Relations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic bid. He is an athlete ambassador for the charitable organization Right to Play.

“It is a true honour to be named Assistant Chef de Mission and to have this wonderful chance to work alongside Nathalie and Steve to lead Team Canada in 2010,” Juneau said. “I am very proud to represent my country once again, while representing the region of Nunavik whose leaders and educators have strongly supported my participation at these Olympic Winter Games. I will do my best to represent and support our Canadian athletes so we can come out very successful.”

At the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games, Juneau led Canada to a silver medal in hockey. The centre led all Olympic players in scoring with 15 points (six goals, nine assists). Later that year he turned professional with the Boston Bruins and scored 102 points as a rookie in the NHL. Over 828 career games he would score 572 points, play for six teams and reach the Stanley Cup twice. In 2006, Juneau launched a grassroots hockey program in Kuujjuaq, a small town in the northern reaches of Quebec, in the Nunavik region. The area has high rates of alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty and suicide. There, Juneau teaches more than 700 students between five and 18 the finer points of hockey – using the sport as a tool to show children the importance of education, to develop leadership, introduce them to a healthy lifestyle and prevent criminality throughout Nunavik. Juneau works with local teachers to ensure his students attend classes and work hard. In September 2007, Juneau moved with his family to Kuujjuaq to be a close part of the community.

“I’m thrilled to have Steve and Joé as my assistant chefs,” said Chef de Mission Nathalie Lambert, three-time Olympic medallist in speed skating. “Not only are their athletic careers inspirational, but they inspire even more by who they have become as individuals and what they do in their everyday life. They will be great assets to the Canadian team.”

The chief responsibility for both Juneau and Podborski will be, over the next year, to work alongside Lambert to help provide overall leadership to the Canadian Team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and to represent the athletes to the media and the public. Juneau will be stationed in the Vancouver Olympic Village and Podborski in the Whistler Olympic Village so athletes competing in both locations are well represented and supported. Lambert will be stationed in Vancouver but will travel to Whistler when needed.

About the Canadian Olympic Committee

The Canadian Olympic Committee is a national, private, not-for-profit organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all aspects of Canada’s involvement in the Olympic Movement, including Canada’s participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide variety of programs that promote the Olympic Movement in Canada through cultural and educational means. For more information, see the COC website: www.olympic.ca.