The Australian Olympic Committee announced today that four-time Olympian Anna Meares will lead their team in Paris as the Chef de Mission. The decorated track cyclist was appointed as the chief spokesperson for Australia’s athletes for the period leading up to the 2024 Olympics, as well as acting as their representative while the team is in Paris.
“The athletes are the very heart of everything that is the Olympic Games,” Meares said in a press release. “Every athlete comes with a story, an ambition and a feeling of great pride in representing their country. My job is to ensure we provide the right environment for all of them as they strive for Olympic success, enjoy their experience as an Olympian, and allow all in Australia to learn about their story and connect through sport.”
The Chef de Mission, or head of mission, leads a national delegation. Each competing nation for the Games appoints one in the years prior to the Olympics. They act as a kind of mentor for the athletes, coaches, and staff.
Meares won gold in the 500 m time trial and bronze in the sprint event on the track during her Olympic debut in Athens in 2004. She also won various other medals in the sprint including silver in Beijing in 2008, and gold in London in 2012. She retired in 2016, the same year she picked up a bronze in the keirin at the Rio Olympics.
“A positive Team environment is such an important ingredient,” Meares said. “There will be more than 30 different sports spread across multiple venues in Paris and we know that the feeling they are all part of the Australian Olympic Team is important to them. My job is to help bind us altogether and give them a sense of home away from home.”