With just under 500 days to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee has announced that Para swimming legend Stephanie Dixon will be at the helm of the Canadian team for the next two years as chef de mission. She will serve the role both in Tokyo next summer and at the upcoming Lima 2019 Parapan American Games.
Originally from Brampton, Ontario, Dixon is one of the leading Paralympic athletes to ever compete for Canada. She made her Paralympic Games debut at age 16 and ultimately won 19 medals – seven gold, 10 silver, and two bronze – through three Paralympic Games at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and Beijing 2008. She retired in 2010 following the World Para Swimming Championships to pursue a career in coaching.
“I could not be more excited to be selected as chef de mission for the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,” said Dixon. “I am passionate about ensuring our Canadian athletes have everything they need in order to give performances of a lifetime, have experiences they will never forget, and know that their entire country is behind them when they step onto the field of play.
“I will be our athletes’ biggest cheerleader and share their stories with our nation so that all Canadians will feel like they are a part of their journey. When we get behind our athletes, we can’t help but be inspired!”
Now 35 years old, Dixon has remained heavily involved in sport and the Paralympic Movement since her retirement from competition. She currently lives in Whitehorse, Yukon where she is a swimming coach and influential advocate for inclusive sport with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities ‘Play Finds a Way’ initiative. She has been part of the broadcast teams for the last three Paralympic Games, working for the Canadian Paralympic Media Consortium. She also was assistant chef de mission for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games.
“We are so thrilled to have Stephanie join our team for Lima and Tokyo,” said Marc-André Fabien, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee. “She is a true advocate of Paralympic sport and has been a well-respected leader in our community for so many years. She brings such energy and influence to the role in addition to her vast experience and unique insight.
“Combining the chef de mission role for both Lima and Tokyo will add consistency and help Stephanie to build even more of a positive team atmosphere. We know she will provide outstanding support and leadership for our athletes, who will be competing in the biggest competitions of their careers.”
As chef de mission, Dixon will serve on the leadership team for the Canadian team with an aim of providing the athletes the best conditions to succeed and the best experience possible. She will also act as an official spokesperson for the team, promoting the Games, athletes, and Paralympic Movement as a whole.
The Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games will run from August 23 to September 1 in Peru, serving as a qualifier for next summer’s Paralympic Games for several sports. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 144 athletes in 13 sports. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place next year from August 25 to September 6 in Japan.
Story and Photo: Canadian Paralympic Committee