World Descends on London: British Capital Hosts Chef de Mission Seminar and Olympic Test Events

Former Olympic champion swimmer and Canada’s Chef de Mission for London 2012, Mark Tewksbury, poses in front of the Olympic pool at the London Aquatics Centre.

With less than a year to go until the opening ceremonies, London 2012 preparations are cranking into high gear.

From August 9-12, London will host the Chef de Mission seminar, a gathering of the official representatives and spokespersons for all respective National Olympic Committees (NOC’s). The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is taking part in this important event, as Mark Tewksbury, Canada’s Chef de Mission for the London Games, will be attendance.

The Chefs de Mission represent key members of the overall leadership team for each country’s participation in the Olympic Games. Supporting and promoting their Olympic Teams throughout the Games, they help create an onsite environment conducive to achieving optimal performance.

The seminar will allow the London Organizing Committee (LOCOG) to conduct plenary sessions featuring presentations on important content regarding the Games, run tours of the official Olympic venues and hold one-on-one meetings with each individual NOC. Over the course of the four-day event, Tewksbury and his staff will have the opportunity to gather significant information, and ask questions in order to prepare Canada for its participation at the Olympic Games next summer.

In addition to the seminar, Canadian athletes are also in London preparing for the Games. Various test events are being conducted at the official Olympic venues this week, in order to work out the kinks and give athletes a chance to familiarize themselves with the facilities and courses.

Prior to heading home from the World Aquatic Championships, Canada’s swimmers took a dive into the London Aquatics Center, while mountain biker Catharine Pendrel won the test run at the Hadleigh Farm in Essex. Top triathlete Paula Findlay made the trip over the Atlantic, testing out the three-part course in Hyde Park, while wrestlers got acquainted with the ExCeL London wrestling venue. Other sports testing out their venues this month include sailing, rowing, badminton, beach volleyball, marathon swimming, basketball, and cycling (Road and BMX).

The test events will continue through May of 2012.