Canadian Olympic Committee Adds Six Members to its Beijing Team of Olympic Specialists



    TORONTO, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced
today that it has appointed six individuals to form the second phase of the
organization's Team of Olympic Specialists, a new Games preparation initiative
designed to help Canada's athletes achieve increased podium success at the
2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
    The COC's Team of Olympic Specialists is a group of proven Olympic
experts who are providing Canada's summer National Sport Federations and their
team of specialists with strategic and tactical information on potential
medical, environmental, climatic and coaching challenges that team members may
face in the leadup to and in the unique Olympic Games environment.
    Among the newest members to the COC's Team of Olympic Specialists are
Olympic coaches Debbie Muir (Calgary, Alta.) and Daniele Sauvageau
(Deux-Montagnes, Que.). Muir and Sauvageau will each serve in the role of
Beijing Coach Mentor. Alain Delorme (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.), Penny
Werthner (Ottawa, Ont.) and Caroline Sharp (Carleton Place, Ont.) have also
been named to the positions of Beijing Strength and Conditioning Specialist,
Beijing Sport Psychologist and Beijing Media Relations Specialist,
respectively.
    "We are honoured to have a group of such accomplished individuals join
the COC. The appointment of these individuals dramatically strengthens our
ability to provide world class support to Canada's athletes and their 'pit
crew' of coaches and performance enhancement team members as they strive to
reach the podium at the 2008 Olympic Games," said Caroline Assalian, COC
Executive Director, Olympic Preparation and Games. "This step represents
another new initiative that the COC is implementing as a performance partner
to Canada's National Sport Federations. Come August 8, 2008 we want to know
that we have done everything in our power to help athletes convert their
international success to Olympic podium finishes."
    The COC also named Michel Leblanc (St-Nicolas, Que.) to the full-time
position of COC Manager, Olympic Preparation. Reporting to Derek Covington,
the COC's Director, Olympic Preparation, Leblanc will work alongside Marnie
McBean, COC Manager, Olympic Preparation and three-time Olympic rowing gold
medallist, to assist Canada's National Sport Federations in developing and
implementing customized Olympic Podium Performance Preparation programs for
the Olympic Games.
    Leblanc has spent the past two years as the National Mountain Bike Coach
for the Canadian Cycling Association. During the course of his 12-year
coaching career, Leblanc has consistently helped Canada's cycling athletes
reach the podium on the international stage. Among his most notable
accomplishments, Leblanc coached Marie-Hélène Prémont to a silver medal in
cycling's cross country event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
    In the role of Beijing Coach Mentor, Muir and Sauvageau will lead and
mentor Canada's Olympic coaches to assist them in realizing their athletes'
podium objectives for the 2008 Olympic Games. This includes providing
strategic information on how to deal with unique challenges, pressures,
stresses and distractions as well as tips on effective Games-time coaching
practices.
    Muir is one of Canada's most accomplished coaches. In 1988, she coached
Carolyn Waldo and Michelle Cameron to the solo and duet gold medals in
synchronized swimming at the Olympic Games in Seoul. Four years earlier, she
guided Waldo, Sharon Hambrook and Kelly Kryczka-Irwin to silver medals in the
solo and duet events at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. From 1978 to
1986, Muir coached Canadian athletes to seven World Championship titles.
    Apart from her work with synchronized swimmers, Muir has also served as a
specialized technical training consultant to 1992 Olympic gold medallist Mark
Tewksbury. In addition, she has served as an advisor to several high
performance coaches throughout Canada and has worked internationally as a
consultant in Australia, Japan and South Korea.
    Sauvageau is a former head coach with the Canadian women's hockey team.
During her tenure behind the bench, she led Team Canada to its first ever gold
medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, a silver medal at the 1998 Olympic
Winter Games and four consecutive World Championship titles from 1994 to 2001.
Sauvageau has participated in two Pan American Games and five Olympic Games as
a coach, general manager and mentor coach to different sport organizations,
and was the first woman to coach in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. In
2000, she founded DS.Communications, a firm that provides strategic
organizational, leadership and coaching services to business leaders and high
performance coaches. She is also a member of Coaches of Canada board of
directors.
    Dr. Werthner has represented Canada as a sport psychologist at five
Olympic Games, including the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and the 2004 Olympic
Games, and has worked with Canada's canoe/kayak, freestyle skiing, curling,
speed skating and water polo athletes.
    Prior to entering the field of sport psychology, Dr. Werthner competed as
a member of the national athletics team from 1970 to 1981. Among her career
highlights, Dr. Werthner represented Canada at the 1976 Olympic Games and
captured a bronze medal in the 1,500-metre event at both the 1979 Pan American
Games and the 1978 Commonwealth Games.
    Delorme is the co-owner of Actiforme Consultants and has provided
strength and conditioning advice to Canadian athletes competing in boxing,
diving, handball, rowing, short-track speed skating, swimming, synchronized
swimming, taekwondo and water polo. He is also a Team Leader and Coordinator
with the National Multisport Centre-Montreal where he works extensively with
alpine skiing, badminton, hockey and rowing athletes.
    Sharp previously served as Director General and Chief Executive Officer
of Volleyball Canada from 1998 to 2007. In her role with the organization,
Sharp was responsible for the overall management of Volleyball Canada
including sport development. She has served as a media attaché for the
Canadian team at the 2000, 2002 and 2004 Olympic Games and the recent 2007 Pan
American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    As a Beijing Media Specialist, Sharp will serve as a resource to Canada's
summer National Sport Federations and assist them in developing their
communications plans for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
    The first phase of the COC's Olympic Specialist Team was announced in
November 2006 and featured the appointments of Dr. Robert McCormack (New
Westminster, B.C.), Stephen King (Lennoxville, Que.) and Mélanie Olivier
(Montreal, Que.) to the positions of Chief Medical Officer, Chief Therapist
and Performance Nutritionist, respectively. The COC also named Dr. Jon Kolb
(Calgary, Alta.) to the role of Environmental Physiologist and Doug Charko
(Regina, Sask.) to the position of Meteorologist.

    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.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Sylvie Bigras, Manager, Games
Communications, Canadian Olympic Committee, Cell: (613) 298-1625,
sbigras@olympic.ca

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