Mark Tewksbury Named Canada's Chef de Mission for London 2012

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced today that two-time Olympian Mark Tewksbury has been appointed as Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“As an Olympic champion, a two-time Olympian and swimming icon, Mark Tewksbury is the ideal choice to lead Canada in 2012,” said COC President Marcel Aubut. “His passion for sport and competition matched with his leadership and poise will serve as a huge asset for our Canadian Olympic Team in London.”

A three-time Olympic medallist, Tewksbury, 42, swam to a gold medal in the 100-metre backstroke at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, and also collected bronze (1992) and silver (1988) medals in the men’s 4×100-metre medley.

“I am truly honoured to have been selected as Canada’s Chef de Mission for London 2012,” said Tewksbury. “To lead our Canadian Olympic Team into London is an incredible privilege and honour. I look forward to working closely with the Canadian Olympic Committee over the next two years, providing optimum support for Canada’s athletes and coaches as we strive to shine on the world stage.”

Tewksbury, who was officially unveiled on CTV’s Canada AM this morning, is a 21-time national champion in swimming and a seven-time world record holder. He also captured four gold medals through two Commonwealth Games appearances (1986 and 1990) and two silver medals at the 1991 World Aquatic Championships.

In 1992, Tewksbury won several awards, including the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Athlete of the Year, the Lionel Conacher Award and the Norton H. Crow Award. He also received the Governor General Meritorious Service Medal in 1993.

Named as “Canada’s Male Swimmer of the Year” on four occasions, Tewksbury has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2001), the Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame (1999), Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (1995) and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (1993).

Tewksbury retired from competition in 1992 but remained involved in the sport community through various initiatives with the COC and Canadian media organizations. The Calgary native also took on an increased role in the community, co-founding a professional development company and becoming a motivational speaker.

Having touched millions around the world as a speaker, author and television host, Tewksbury was the master of ceremonies for the Dalai Lama’s appearances in Ottawa in 2007 and Calgary in 2009, and addressed the United Nations on human rights matters in 2008. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws for athletic accomplishment, ethical leadership and active humanitarianism from the University of Calgary (2010) and University of Western Ontario (2001).

As Chef de Mission, Tewksbury will take on the role of official representative and spokesperson of the Canadian Olympic Team (COT), and be a key member of the overall leadership team for Canada’s participation in the Olympic Games. His leadership and Olympic experience are invaluable assets to the delegation. Tewksbury’s knowlege of sport and the Olympic Movement will be of utmost importance in the interaction with stakeholders, both nationally and internationally.

Throughout the Games, he will support and promote the COT by helping to create an onsite environment conducive to achieving optimal performance, in line with the goal of placing among the top-12 nations in total medal count in London 2012.

At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Canada was one of just six nations that succeeded in winning more medals than it had at previous Games, finishing tied for 13th with 18 medals. The COT surpassed its top-16 performance goal and matched its third-best output ever with three gold, nine silver and six bronze medals.