Podborski named assistant Chef de Mission 

The Canadian Olympic Committee has appointed Whistler's Steve Podborski as assistant Chef de Mission for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"My hope and dream and plan is to allow our guys to reach that goal of being number one and if we can do that I will be elated that I played a small part," said Podborski.

In 1980, Podborski became the first North American man to win an Olympic medal in downhill skiing, a bronze in Lake Placid.

On the national alpine team from 1974 to 1984, he had eight career World Cup victories and reached the podium in 20 of 89 races.

For the 1981-82 season, Podborski won the overall World Cup downhill title, becoming the first non-European ever do so.

An Officer of the Order of Canada (1982), Podborski was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. He has been Canada's Athlete of the Year twice.

A member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, he was Executive Director of International Relations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic bid.

He is also an athlete ambassador for the charitable organization Right to Play.

Podborski will be stationed in the Whistler Athletes' Village.

The COC also appointed Joé Juneau an assistant chef de Mission. The 1992 Olympic silver medalist in hockey will be based in the Vancouver Athletes' Village.

The Chef de Mission for the COC for 2010 is Nathalie Lambert, a three-time Olympic medalist in speed skating.

"The COC is responsible for making sure that the village is ready for our athletes when they arrive so everything they might need to compete and do well needs to be in place," said Podborski.

"The Chef de Mission and the assistant Chef's job is to get the last 5 per cent done, to understand the tone of the team to make sure that when things are going well, they keep it going well and when things are going sideways they're turning the ship around again."

It is easier to succeed as an athlete if you get to the starting gate and everything has gone smoothly. Then there are no excuses not to give it your best and go out to win, said Podborski.

"One of the things that I discovered as I went along is that if I got into a starting gate with no excuses left, then it was easier to do well," he said.

"The goal of being number one in 2010 is not just the athletes' challenge it is everyone's challenge who supports them."

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