Christine Girard named Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for Santiago 2023
MONTREAL (February 16, 2023) – The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has announced Olympic and Pan American Games champion in weightlifting, Christine Girard, as Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
“I feel so grateful and excited to be named Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for Santiago 2023,” said two-time Olympian Girard. “Looking back on my own career, I still fondly remember the Chefs who supported me. One of my goals as Chef de Mission is to pay that forward.
“Athletic integrity and values mean a lot to me. What matters even more than what happens on the field of play is how we’re representing ourselves and our country off of it. I’m really looking forward to sharing these values and experiences with Team Canada athletes.”
Girard is Canada’s first Olympic champion in weightlifting, having won the gold medal in the women’s 63kg category at London 2012. In her Olympic debut at Beijing 2008, she captured bronze and became the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. Both of those medals were awarded several years later when athletes who had initially placed ahead of her were disqualified due to doping infractions.
This experience led to Girard becoming an active ambassador and advocate for safe, ethical and fair sport. She is an International Testing Agency Education Ambassador and an International Weightlifting Federation Anti-Doping Commission Member.
“Christine is everything you could ask for in a Chef de Mission. She is an incredibly accomplished athlete. She is an inspirational role model and a strong advocate promoting clean play,” said Eric Myles, COC Chief Sport Officer. “With her ability to build relationships and connect with athletes, as well as her experience and her passion, Christine will be a great asset to Team Canada on the road to Santiago 2023.”
Outside of her Olympic experience, Girard’s brilliant career included three Pan American Games appearances. After her debut at Santo Domingo 2003, where she finished 8th, she went on to win two Pan Am Games medals – silver at Rio 2007 and gold at Guadalajara 2011.
“Christine’s historic athletic achievements, matched by her leadership, integrity and clean sport advocacy, make her the perfect fit for this role. Team Canada athletes heading to these Pan American Games will be in excellent hands with Christine as Chef,” said four-time Olympian and COC President Tricia Smith.
As Santiago 2023 Chef de Mission, Girard will serve as mentor, supporter and cheerleader for Team Canada, both in the lead up and during the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
“The Pan American Games are unique because each athlete has a different goal for competing. For some, it will play a significant part in their Olympic journey, as it did for me. For others, it could be to gain international experience, qualify a spot for our country for Paris 2024 or to showcase their sport which is not represented at an Olympic Games. Whatever their goal is, I am here to support them however I can,” added Girard, who was inducted to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2019.
Girard is also a published author – she shares her story in a book titled De la défaite à la victoire. She currently resides in Gatineau, Québec with her husband and three children.
Santiago 2023 will be the first time that Chile hosts the Pan American Games. The Games begin on October 20 and end November 5, 2023, and will feature approximately 7000 athletes from 41 countries competing in 39 sports.
Note: The COC is still accepting expressions of interest for media accreditation to Santiago 2023 until Friday, February 24 at olympic.ca/press-accreditation.
COC MEDIA CONTACTS:
Team Canada Santiago 2023 Press Operations Lead
Program Manager, Public Relations
Team Canada Santiago 2023 Press Chief