Canadian Paralympic Committee Announces Sochi 2014 Mission Staff Appointments

OTTAWA, July 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is pleased today to announce the appointment of the volunteer members of Team Canada's Mission Staff for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.

Under the direction of Chef de Mission Ozzie Sawicki, this group - along with appointed staff from the Canadian Paralympic Committee and national sport organizations - will lead, manage and support Team Canada in Sochi, aiming for a top-three finish in the gold medal count.

"These Mission Staff members are experts in their field who can be counted on to deliver world-class services for Canada's athletes and coaches in Sochi," said Sawicki. "The combined experience and talent of this group is outstanding, as is their commitment to Canadian Paralympic sport."

Chief Medical Officer - Russell O'Connor (North Vancouver, B.C., originally from McBride, B.C.). Russ is the medical manager of the neuromuscular program encompassing both in and outpatient programs at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver, B.C. He was Team Physician for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, and Coordinating Physician for the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski team from 2007 to 2010. His specialities include electromyography, musculoskeletal medicine and spasticity management.

Ombudsperson - Jeff Palamar (Winnipeg, Man.) Jeff is a partner at Taylor McCaffrey LLP and also volunteers with Sport Manitoba, where he is incoming Chair. He practices employment, labour and administrative law with a focus on employers, human rights issues, sports and Aboriginal organizations. Jeff has been Team Canada's Ombudsperson at three previous Paralympic Games: Beijing, Vancouver and London.

Athlete Services Officer - Chelsey Gotell (Toronto, Ont., originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia). As a swimmer, Chelsey competed at three Paralympic Games (2000, 2004 and 2008), won three gold, two silver, seven bronze medals and still holds multiple world records. Now Communications Coordinator at TORONTO 2015 Organizing Committee for the Pan American and Parapan American Games (TO2015), Chelsey was an Athlete Services Officer at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Team Services Officer - Marie-Hélène Cayer (Ottawa, Ont., originally from Quebec City, Que.). Currently working for Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau and trilingual in English, French and Spanish, Marie-Hélène has worked at one Olympic, two Paralympic and one Parapan American Games in multiple roles.

Team Services Officer - Anna Johnson (Ottawa, Ont., originally from London, United Kingdom). Formerly the Manager, Games Operations for the British Paralympic Association, Anna's experience includes three Paralympic Games cycles delivering operational, logistical and administrative support for the British team.

Team Services Officer - Kristina Molloy (Toronto, Ont.). Kristina is Director, Parapan Planning and Integration for TORONTO 2015 Organizing Committee for the Pan American and Parapan American Games (TO2015). Kristina was previously Manager of Paralympic Games for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and is an international expert on accessibility, transition planning and Paralympic integration best practices.

Note regarding additional Mission Staff: Team Canada will be supported by the above Mission Staff members and by appointed Mission Staff and additional positions in Operations and Communications involving staff of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and national sport organizations.

Media Attachés

Chris Dornan (Calgary, Alta.) - Sport communications consultant at High-Performance Public Relations, Para-Nordic Skiing and Biathlon

Keegan Goodrich (Calgary, Alta.) - Coordinator, Media Relations at Hockey Canada

John Sims (Thunder Bay, Ont.) - Head of Communications, Team Ontario, for Canada Games, volunteer for Wheelchair Curling

Kelsey Verboom (Calgary, Alta.) - Manager, Web Content & Social Media at Alpine Canada

About Team Canada and the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games will take place from March 7 to 16 and will include five sports: para-alpine skiing (including the inclusion for the first time of para-snowboard), biathlon, para-Nordic skiing, sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.

Canada will send approximately 50 athletes to compete in Sochi, in all sports.

Canada's performance goal for Sochi is to place in the top three nations in the gold medal count. This goal was established in collaboration with Own the Podium, Sport Canada and winter national sport organizations.

The Canadian Paralympic Team for Sochi will be finalized and announced in February 2014.

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 46 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

For further information:

Alison Korn
Manager, Media Relations and Communications/Team Canada Press Chief - Sochi
Canadian Paralympic Committee
Phone: 613-569-4333 ext. 243
Cell: 613-298-4927

Martin Richard
Executive Director, Communications and Marketing
Canadian Paralympic Committee
Tel: 613-569-4333 ext. 224
Cell: 613-725-4339

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