9 September 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
Rob Waddell steps down as New Zealand Olympic Games chef de mission
Stuff, New Zealand’s largest news website, reports that former Olympic gold medallist in the single sculls, Rob Waddell, steps down as New Zealand Olympic Games chef de mission.
Waddell, 46, who won the gold medal in the singles sculls at the 2000 Sydney Games, has been chef de mission for the last eight years. He became the world champion in the single sculls in 1998 and 1999. Waddell was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing in 2001.
It’s now his intention to spend more time with his family. Waddell said, its “been a real privilege and an honour to have been trusted with leading our Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams,” according to Stuff.
“I’ve particularly enjoyed working with the athletes and wider team to create such a unique New Zealand team environment, it’s something we’re all really proud to be a part of, and I’m really thrilled with what we’ve achieved from Glasgow through to Tokyo.”
Waddell continued: “I’ve loved my time in the role and will miss it but am now looking forward to spending a bit more time with my family and contributing to our community in other ways.”
As chef de mission, Waddell led New Zealand to two Olympic Games, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, and two Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.
NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith, who is also stepping down, said “Rob absolutely was a champion for, and on behalf of, athletes and the New Zealand team. I would like to express a huge amount of gratitude to Rob for the work he’s done to help make these Games campaigns some of our most successful.
“Rob has been extremely committed to the New Zealand team and has always gone above and beyond, often in challenging circumstances, to create an environment which allows New Zealand’s elite athletes to perform at their peak.”
Smith added “More recently in Tokyo, Rob helped to oversee detailed planning for our team which kept our athletes and support team safe, while also allowing them to secure our biggest ever medal haul.”
With Waddell stepping down as chef de mission, a nationwide search has started to find his replacement for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. A new chef de mission is expected to be appointed before the end of October.