Meet Canada's chef de mission for 2015 Parapan American Games
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, May 5, 2014 10:30AM EDT
TORONTO -- As a four-time Paralympian, Elisabeth Walker-Young knows what it takes to compete at the highest level.
She won six medals over four Paralympic Games and was a member of the national Paralympic swim team for 13 years. Walker-Young hopes that experience comes in handy in her role as Canada's chef de mission at the Toronto Parapan American Games in 2015.
"I think it's just a perfect fit because you can speak to the athletes and the coaches because you've kind of been there and done that," Walker-Young said in an interview. "Everybody's experiences and supports are so individual, but you still have just that little bit more of a feel of how much work has gone in."
Walker-Young, a Toronto native who resides in North Vancouver, B.C., was officially named to the position Monday by the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Canada is expected to have a team of 200 athletes at the Games, which will be held Aug. 7-15, 2015.
As chef de mission, Walker-Young will be the Canadian team's representative and spokesperson. She'll handle media availabilities, host dignitaries, government officials and sponsors and visit venues to support the athletes.
The Toronto native was Canada's assistant chef de mission at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
"Elisabeth's contribution to the London Paralympic Games as assistant chef de mission was spectacular and I couldn't be happier to have her leading the largest Parapan Am Canadian team ever in her native Ontario," CPC president Gaetan Tardif said in a release. "There is great value in Canada hosting international events and I know Elisabeth will help Team Canada's athletes and coaches make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of competing at a home Games.
"Just being around Elisabeth is motivating and she has a natural rapport-building ability that I know the team will appreciate and benefit greatly from."
Canada has set a goal of finishing in the top three nations in total medal count. In all, over 1,600 athletes from 28 countries are expected to compete in 15 different sports.
Walker-Young works for Curl BC as an educational programs manager. She previously managed international projects and operations for the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
She has also done motivational and keynote speaking and serves on the Paralympic Development Committee and Classification Taskforce for the CPC.
Walker-Young made her Paralympic Games debut at Barcelona in 1992. She won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals over her four appearances at the Games through Athens in 2004.
The Pan American Games will be held July 10-26, 2015.