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OTTAWA, Jan. 24, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee is pleased to announce that five-time Paralympian in para ice hockey (formerly known as sledge hockey) Todd Nicholson of Dunrobin, Ont. has been named Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Nicholson was a member of Canada's National Sledge Team from 1989 to 2010, was team captain for 15 years and won three Paralympic medals: gold (2006), silver (1998) and bronze (1994). Since his retirement from competition, Nicholson has remained deeply involved in sport at both the national and international levels as an athlete representative and advocate on and off the field of play.
"I'm very excited about leading Team Canada for the 2018 Paralympic Games," said Nicholson. "Athletes and coaches are always my number one priority and I hope the experience I've gained both as an athlete and in the leadership roles I've fulfilled since my playing career will benefit the overall team. I believe in the importance of teamwork and fair play in sports and in life, and in bringing a positive attitude to identifying winning approaches. My car accident changed how I do things in life, but I learned from that to never give up on anything."
The Chef de Mission is the official spokesperson for the Canadian Paralympic Team. He is a mentor, a leader and an inspiration to the athletes, setting the vision for the team and uniting all five sports at the Games – wheelchair curling, Para ice hockey, Para alpine skiing, Para snowboard and Para Nordic, which includes cross country and biathlon events. It is a volunteer role that demands a significant time commitment and dedication, as part of the leadership team supporting the Canadian Paralympic Team.
Nicholson's focus will be on pre-Games preparation and on building and leading a support team that will ensure an optimal environment of success for the athletes. The Chef de Mission will also promote Canada's athletes and raise awareness of Paralympic sport and the Canadian Paralympic Team.
''With Todd Nicholson as Chef de Mission, Team Canada has at its helm one of the most knowledgeable, respected and engaged leaders in international Paralympic sport,'' said Karen O'Neill, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. ''A former team captain and now a trailblazer in advancing the playing field for Paralympic athletes, I know Todd will be the ideal mentor and leader for our team.''
In 2010, Nicholson retired from competition, but not from his commitment as a volunteer to sport and the Paralympic movement. He currently serves as the Chair for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council and as such, is also a Governing Board member for the IPC and the IPC Athlete Representative to the International Olympic Committee. His term will end this year.
He is also the Canadian Paralympic Committee representative to the Own The Podium Board of Directors. Nicholson has direct hands-on experience planning and administering the Games – Olympic and Paralympic – in London 2012, Sochi 2014, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and PyeongChang 2018.
"On behalf of all Canadians, I want to congratulate Todd Nicholson on his selection as Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games," said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. "The Canadian Paralympic Committee has made a wonderful choice: Todd was a tireless competitor on Canada's sledge hockey team through five Paralympic Games, and has since been a passionate advocate for all athletes, both in Canada and internationally. I know that he will bring that same relentless spirit to preparing our athletes and coaches for the Winter Games in South Korea in just over a year from now."
About PyeongChang 2018
The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games are set for March 9 to 18, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Games are expected to attract up to 670 athletes competing in 80 medal events. Five sports are on the Paralympic Winter Games program: wheelchair curling, Para ice hockey, Para alpine skiing, Para snowboard and Para Nordic, which includes cross country and biathlon events.
Canada expects to send a full team, with qualification and test events beginning in March 2017.
At the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Canada placed third in the overall medal standings with seven gold, two silver and seven bronze.
About Todd Nicholson
In 1987, Nicholson became a paraplegic after being involved in a car accident when he was returning home on the night of his high school prom. He was introduced to Paralympic sports during his stay at the Royal Ottawa Rehabilitation Center.
Nicholson was Canada's Opening Ceremony flag bearer for the Turin 2006 Paralympic Games and was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
Nicholson and his wife Emily Glossop, a recreation therapist and former para-alpine skiing guide, have two young children. The couple are the driving force behind the vision for the planned Abilities Centre Ottawa at the LeBreton Flats site, a fully accessible recreation facility based on the one already existing in Whitby, Ont.
In his day job, Nicholson has worked for the Federal Government of Canada for over 20 years. He is currently working for the Canada Border Services Agency. Nicholson received the Presidential Citation for Meritorious Service from the President of Canada Border Services Agency, Mr. Luc Portelance, in 2015 and received the Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) from the Governor General of Canada in 2016. These awards are given to recognize remarkable contributions in many different fields of endeavor, from advocacy initiatives and health care services, to research and humanitarian efforts.
He is also a charismatic motivational speaker, with experience in schools, corporate, government and rehabilitation settings. An all-round athlete, Nicholson has competed in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, triathlon, duathlon, marathons and para-skeleton.
About the Canadian Paralympic Committee: Paralympic.ca
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