Outstanding New Zealand athlete and Olympian Rob Waddell has been named Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Summer Olympic and Commonwealth Games Teams.
A two-time World rowing champion and Olympic gold medal winner, Waddell replaces controversial team leader Dave Currie who overlooked three Olympics from 2000-2012.
While Currie was blasted by some sections of the media for leading an early morning haka in Beijing in '08, and was also in charge when some of New Zealand's leading athletic stars, including Val Adams, were not officially entered in London, Waddell brings an in-depth understanding of high performance sport to the role.
"I think the Olympics is always evolving and growing and getting bigger all the time," Waddell told ONE News when asked what he can bring to the table over Currie, who resigned after London.
"I think its going to a case of getting a grip of the role
quickly. Im lucky I have an awesome management team in place
already with great systems and processes and I think its going to
be a case of looking at each Games as it comes.
"There has been some great work done already and well look to just keep evolving."
Waddell has a string of top New Zealand sporting honours to his name and is currently a senior member of Emirates Team New Zealand, vice-chair (former chair) of the Home of Cycling Trust and co-owner of a family business.
"Rob has what it takes to make sure the environment is right for athletes to achieve at Olympic Games," Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith said.
"He knows sport and the needs of elite athletes, is highly respected and sets a clear standard of excellence. He also has as strong focus on the benefits of sport to the community.
"We're thrilled to welcome him to the team, Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith said."
Waddell said his appointment to the Chef de Mission role was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"It's a unique position and I'm honoured to have been appointed," he said.
"We've just come off the back of our most successful Olympic Games ever and I'm determined that continues."
He felt that his own Olympic experience will be critical in his new role.
"I've been to three Olympic Games and experienced them not just as a successful gold medal winner but also as a wide-eyed first-timer and again as an athlete struggling to meet expectations. That broad perspective will help better understand our top athletes."
Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand and has employed Waddell for past America's Cups, congratulated him.
We're delighted for Rob. He is an outstanding individual and is ideally suited to the position. He commands respect and is a brilliant team player," he said
Waddell's role with the New Zealand Olympic Team will not impact on existing Emirates Team New Zealand commitments.
As Chef de Mission, Waddell will lead the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. He will be responsible for setting standards of excellence, overseeing the planning and preparation of the games management teams and ensuring the athletes and their NSOs have what they need to achieve within the complex Olympic and Commonwealth Games environments.
Waddell will be New Zealand's 18th Chef de Mission for the
Summer Olympic Games. Sir Arthur Porritt (1924 Paris and 1936
Berlin) was New Zealand's first Chef de Mission.