U.S. Olympic Committee announces Chef de Mission selections for upcoming Games

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) announced today that Peter Vidmar, two-time Olympic gold medalist and chairman of USA Gymnastics, and Aimee Mullins, Paralympian in track and field, have been selected to serve as Chef de Mission of Team USA for the Games of the XXX Olympiad and the 14th Paralympic Games, respectively, to be held in London in 2012.

Selected by the USOC board of directors, Vidmar and Mullins will provide overall leadership to Team USA and function as the liaison officer between the London Organizing Committee (LOCOG), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and other National Olympic Committees (NOCs) at the Games.

"Peter and Aimee are both natural leaders and accomplished athletes. They know firsthand the needs of Olympians and Paralympians and the pressures they will face at the Games," said USOC Chairman Larry Probst. "Team USA will be well-served by these two extraordinary individuals, and on behalf of the USOC, I'd like to thank them for taking on this responsibility."

At the 1984 Olympic Games, Vidmar helped the U.S. men's gymnastics team claim the team gold medal and won a second gold medal on the pommel horse with a perfect 10.0 score. His all-around silver medal made him the first U.S. man to medal in the all-around at the Olympic Games. He also earned a team bronze medal at the 1979 World Championships. His U.S. titles include the all-around in 1980 and 1982, as well as winning the all-around at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Vidmar also won five NCAA titles and was a 19-time All-American.

"I am extremely honored to be appointed U.S. Chef de Mission for the 2012 Olympic Games," Vidmar said. "The Olympics have been an important part of my life since I was very young. This role allows me to work with the USOC and National Governing Bodies to ensure that all Team USA athletes have the support they need to achieve their full potential at the Games. For many athletes, the opportunity to represent their country in the Olympic Games comes only once, so it is crucial that this experience is as rewarding and successful as possible."

Currently, Vidmar serves as chairman of the board of directors for USA Gymnastics, a position he has held since December 2008. In addition, Vidmar is a professional speaker who has given more than 1,000 presentations on risk-taking, innovation and quality to corporations and associations throughout the United States, as well as sales, marketing and management audiences. He has worked as a journalist at several Summer Olympic Games, including the 2008 Games in Beijing, and as a gymnastics television commentator for both ESPN and CBS. Vidmar also has published several books and articles on reaching one's potential, meeting goals and achieving success.

President of the Women's Sports Foundation from 2007-08 and a current trustee for the organization, Mullins has found both success and fame in sport. An athlete her entire life, Mullins made a groundbreaking achievement at Georgetown University where she competed as the first-ever amputee on an NCAA Division I track team. She was also the first person in the world outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah, set world records in the 100 meter, 200 meter and long jump, and represented Team USA at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta. Through all of her accomplishments, she is best known for changing the world of prosthetics and the way people perceive athletes with unique bodies.

"Sport gives us all a platform upon which we explore our dreams and test the limits of our will, and I'm humbled and excited for the opportunity to share my experience and provide encouragement to fellow Team USA athletes as Chef de Mission of Team USA for the Paralympic Games," said Mullins. "Paralympic athletes are a testament to both athletic excellence and the potential of the human body, and I respect the steps that the USOC has taken to put Paralympians on the same stage as their Olympic counterparts. I look forward to further integration in the lead up to the London Games and beyond."

A passionate advocate for revolutionary thinking about body image, Mullins has built a lateral career in acting and as a consultant on innovative thinking, for which she is invited around the world to speak on a range of issues. Her iconic status as a muse in the worlds of art and fashion led to her selection in February as the global brand ambassador for L'Oreal Paris. The author of numerous articles, Mullins' writings have been published worldwide and she serves on boards of various non-profit organizations, most recently as a founding member of the leadership board of SPIRE Institute.

The USOC also announced that USOC Chief of Sport Performance Alan Ashley will serve as the Chef de Mission of Team USA for the 2011 Pan American Games, and USOC Managing Director of U.S. Paralympics Joe Walsh will fill the role of Chef de Mission of Team USA for the 2011 Parapan American Games. Both the Pan American and Parapan American Games will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico this October and November, respectively.

For more information, contact: www.teamusa.org.

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