With just 247 days to go until the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games begin, the British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that BOA Sport Engagement Manager Mahdi Choudhury and Games Services Manager Louise Whitehead will serve as Deputy Chefs de Mission for Team GB at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Working under Team GB Chef de Mission Mike Hay, Choudhury and Whitehead will play a key role in the development, implementation and delivery of the services and support provided by the BOA for Team GB’s participation in the Sochi Games.
Choudhury joined the BOA as a Lawyer in 2006 and was a member of the Headquarters (HQ) staff at the successful Macau Preparation Camp prior to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. He was also a key member of the HQ team at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games before moving to his role as Sport Engagement Manager for the London 2012 Games. In his role as Sport Engagement Manager, he acted as a key point of contact for Team Leaders in the lead up to and during the Games. His responsibilities included dealing with Olympic Qualification Standards, performance matters and field of play issues. Sochi 2014 will be Choudhury’s fourth Games and he will be based in the Coastal Cluster.
“Supporting Mike as one of his Deputy Chefs de Mission is a new and exciting opportunity. Mike knows what we need to deliver to ensure the best performance environment for our Team GB athletes and I am looking forward to working with him to achieve that in Sochi,” said Choudhury.
“In my role as Sport Engagement Manager at the BOA I have been able to develop close relationships with all the Winter Team Leaders. I also speak Russian, both of which will be crucial in my role in Sochi.
“Having visited Russia on several occasions for recces and the recent Olympic Test Events I am looking forward to assisting the Team Leaders on both technical and performance matters and working with them on the road to Sochi.”
Whitehead brings to the Deputy Chef de Mission role over 10 years experience which spans across five Olympic Games, including managing the HQ operation at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Whitehead has also been a part of Team GB HQ team at eight Youth Olympic Festivals, four of which she carried out the Deputy Chef de Mission role. She will be based in the Mountain Cluster.
Most recently at the London 2012 Olympic Games Whitehead held the position of Team GB Operations and Villages Manager. In this role she liaised with the International Federations and British National Governing Bodies to manage the Olympic Qualification Standards process through to the Delegation Registration Meeting (DRM) with the London Organising Committee (LOCOG), which saw Team GB enter its largest delegation in over a century for the London Games. During the Games Whitehead oversaw all 24 Team GB accommodation sites, accounting for over 22,000 bed nights over the course of the Games.
Commenting on her appointment Whitehead said:
“Sochi 2014 will be my sixth Games and I am really looking forward to taking on the new challenge of Deputy Chef de Mission for Team GB.
“Having supported Mike at the 2009 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival where he was Team GB’s Chef de Mission I am excited to have the opportunity once again to work alongside him in the winter sport environment.
“In my role as Deputy Chef de Mission, I will lead on all of Team GB’s operational and logistical needs during the Games. As an organisation, we pride ourselves on our high level of attention to detail and administration, which allows the athletes and coaches to focus fully on the task of competing to the very best of their ability for Team GB.
“I have developed a close working relationship with the Sochi Organising Committee and I am looking forward to the coming months and ultimately the Games in February.”
Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014 Mike Hay said:
“I am delighted to have both Mahdi and Louise as my Deputy Chef de Missions for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
“Between them they bring a wealth of Olympic experience and they will be a fantastic support to our sport Team Leaders and their athletes. They will work tirelessly with the winter sports in the lead up to, and during, the Games to ensure that they have all of the resources and support they need to be able to perform at their highest level in Sochi.”
Choudhury and Whitehead will also be supporting Team GB’s Chef de Mission Sarah Gosling for the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht in July.
“I am thrilled to have Louise and Mahdi as the Deputy Chefs,” said double Olympic gold medallist Gosling.
“With performance being paramount to the service that the BOA provide at Games-time, their experience and professionalism will be invaluable to the whole team.
“This is the first step towards the Olympic Games for many of the athletes that get selected and we will strive to do our best to deliver an environment conducive with optimum performance.”
Team GB will consist of approximately 45 athletes competing across the five sports of cycling, gymnastics, judo, swimming and tennis.