A highly-respected leader with more than 20 years of experience as an athlete, coach and administrator in winter sport has been selected by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to serve as Chef de Mission for Team GB at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Marking 301 days to go, and by unanimous vote of the BOA Board of Directors, Mike Hay was today appointed to lead the Team GB delegation of approximately 50 athletes and around 50 support staff for the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Currently the BOA’s Head of Sport Engagement, Hay won five European titles and two World Championship silver medals during his competitive career in curling. The Scot went on to be Head coach of Team GB’s women curlers, skipped by Rhona Martin, to a gold medal at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games – the first gold medal for Team GB since Sarajevo 1984 where Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean secured gold in the ice dance.
Hay brings considerable Olympic experience to the role, having been the Director of the Team GB Preparation Camp in Calgary prior to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games as well as the Preparation Camp in Loughborough, which preceded Team GB’s exceptional performance of finishing third in the London 2012 Olympic Games medal table. He was also a member of the successful Preparation Camp team in Macau, prior to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Before joining the BOA as Head of Winter Sport Engagement in 2007, Hay was the GB Curling Performance Director and Head of High Performance Curling Programme at the Scottish Institute of Sport from 1998 to 2006. During this time the curling teams won World (1999, 2002, 2006) and European (1999, 2003) titles as well as an Olympic Gold in Salt Lake City (2002).
In 2002, Mike received the Mussabina Medal, awarded to UK coaches for achieving outstanding success on the world stage, and in 2004 he received an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen for services to curling.
During his playing career, Hay represented Scotland at World Junior, European and World Championships on 15 occasions, winning five European Championship gold medals and two World Championship silver medals,
Hay has already visited Sochi several times and recently took part in the Chef de Mission seminar at which the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee updated National Olympic Committees from around the world on their preparations for the Games.
Congratulating Hay, BOA Chairman Lord Seb Coe said:
“Mike Hay is the perfect person for the job of Chef de Mission at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games: he is a former athlete, a former coach and a well-respected leader within winter sport, nationally and internationally.
“I know that Mike will deliver the best possible performance environment for our Team GB athletes in Sochi as he has already coached one team to a Winter Olympic gold medal – the women’s curlers in Salt Lake 2002. He knows what it takes to perform and to be a winner.”
Commented Mike Hay, Team GB Chef de Mission:
“It is an absolute honour to be asked to head up Team GB at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. As a former curler and coach, my passion is winter sport and my ambition is to make sure that every single member of Team GB in 2014 can perform to the best of his or her ability.
“We are not an alpine nation but I am very excited by the performances that we have seen this past season from our winter athletes. If everyone remains focused, fit and on form, we will be competitive in a number of disciplines with realistic medal opportunities.
“The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will be fabulous because everything is purpose built, the proximity of the coastal and mountain clusters will make the Games feel much more compact than previous ones have, and the fact that we have an Olympic Park – a first for a Winter Olympics – will be great for both athletes and fans.”