Two-time Olympic Gold Medallist Alex Baumann Returns To Canada To Lead Road To Excellence Initiative

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), in conjunction with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), announced today that two-time Olympic gold medallist and international sport leader, Alex Baumann is returning to Canada to accept the position of Executive Director of the Road To Excellence initiative. Working out of Ottawa, Baumann will assume his duties in January 2007.

“It is great to be back in Canada and I am absolutely thrilled to accept this new role within the Road To Excellence initiative,” said Baumann. “Over the past few years the Canadian high-performance sport system has made great strides with respect to its vision, development and execution. I’m looking forward to building on these efforts by working with the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, the National Sport Federations and the federal government to provide Canada’s summer athletes and coaches with the required financial and technical support to help them compete at the highest level at the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing and London. I also look forward to working closely with Dr. Roger Jackson and the Own The Podium 2010 team. I have no doubt that we can contribute much to each other’s program development.”

The Road To Excellence Business Plan, released in June 2006, was developed by the 28 Olympic and Paralympic summer sports, the COC, the CPC and Sport Canada as an initial action plan to start the process of creating a more coordinated, effective Canadian sport system resulting in world-class programs, policies and financing that will help Canada achieve podium success.

The Road To Excellence Business Plan is the most comprehensive plan ever developed by Canada’s summer sport organizations and partners which maps out a clear road to podium success. The plan was designed to give Canadian athletes the required financial and technical support to help them be competitive at the highest level.

The plan targets a top 16 placing for Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and a top 12 placing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The goal for the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games is for Canada to place amongst the top five nations at each event. Similar to the Own the Podium 2010 winter sport initiative, the Road To Excellence plan targets sports with the ability to achieve success at upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Alex Baumann is an icon of Canadian sport who has established himself as one of the world’s top international sport leaders through his extensive business knowledge, sport technical expertise and proven history of developing and implementing world-class programs that achieve international podium success,” said COC Chief Executive Officer Chris Rudge. “Together with Alex, we look forward to increasing our Olympic preparation efforts in order to help provide Canada’s athletes with the resources necessary to achieve podium success at the Olympic Games in Beijing, London and beyond.”

As Executive Director, Baumann will be responsible for developing and implementing the Road To Excellence business, strategic and operating plans as well as issuing recommendations on the most effective methods to allocate its resources. He will report to national funding partners, including the COC, CPC and Sport Canada, while receiving input from the representatives of the 28 summer National Sport Federations.

“Alex Baumann is a proven international sport leader who will be a great asset to the Road To Excellence initiative,” said Dr. Roger Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Own The Podium 2010 and author of the Road To Excellence Business Plan. “Together with Own The Podium 2010, Canadian high-performance sport is developing a solid foundation and we look forward to working closely with Alex through the 2012 Olympic Games as we mutually develop strategies and ideas in order to achieve our goal of a strengthened Canadian sport system.”

One of Canada’s most decorated Olympians, Baumann captured two gold medals in swimming at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was selected as Canada’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony and competed in five disciplines, winning both the 200- and 400-metre individual medley races with world record times for Canada’s first gold medals in men’s swimming since 1912.

Generally regarded as the greatest Canadian swimmer of all-time, Baumann was named Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year by Canadian Press in 1984 and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada that same year. He was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 1991, Baumann moved to Australia to pursue graduate studies at the University of Queensland. Following his academic career, he was appointed as the Manager of Sport Programs for the Queensland Academy of Sport in 1996. He then held various positions with the Queensland Government before becoming Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Swimming in 1999.

In 2002, he assumed the role of Executive Director for the Queensland Academy of Sport where he was responsible for overseeing sport programs, athlete and coach support services, regional services, the Centre of Excellence for Applied Sport Science Research and business services in order to ensure that Australian athletes had the best resources necessary for attaining high-performance goals.

“The appointment of Alex Baumann to lead the Road To Excellence initiative is a major shot in the arm for the Canadian summer sport system,” said Swimming Canada Chief Executive Officer and National Coach Pierre Lafontaine. “Having worked with Alex in Australia, I am confident in saying that no individual will bring about as much focus, dedication, passion and commitment to the position as Alex. He is one of the top high-performance strategists in the world and we are very lucky to have his guidance and leadership in developing and executing this plan.”

The COC is also pleased to announce that on September 23 the organization’s Executive Committee voted to recommend to the COC’s Board of Directors the approval of a $5 million payment to the Road to Excellence initiative to accelerate its commitment to coaching and technical leadership.