Chesterman reappointed for Winter Olympics

ONE of Tasmania's highest profile sporting administrators, Ian Chesterman, has been re-appointed Chef de Mission for his sixth Winter Olympics.

Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman.

Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman.

Twenty years after first leading the Australian team in Japan, the Legana father-of-three will take the reins for a final time at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

``It's an enormous honour,'' said Chesterman, who has long been the face of the Australian team, fronting press conferences with the pick of the country's winter Olympians at Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002), Torino (2006), Vancouver (2010) and Sochi in Russia earlier this year.

``I look back to the first time I was Chef de Mission in 1998 and I see the enormous progress made by our Australian winter sport athletes over that time, and how we now go to an Olympic Winter Games as a highly respected winter sport nation.

``I'm very confident that we will take our strongest team ever to Korea in 2018.

``We had a number of young athletes come very close to the podium in Sochi. Hopefully they can go all the way in PyeongChang.

``Of the 60 Australian athletes in Sochi, 70 per cent were first time Olympians, and many of those will be back for 2018 and better for the experience.''

The Australian Olympic Committee announced yesterday that its executive had ``wasted no time'' in re-appointing Chesterman.

The 55-year-old, who is also Targa Tasmania press officer, said he was excited by a Games in South Korea, which he will visit for the first time in October.

``I imagine it will be incredibly different experience from all those I've done before. It's a totally different culture. 

``They are probably more prepared than Russia were because this was their third attempt to get a Games and they have got a lot more facilities already in place whereas Sochi built everything from scratch.

``Being in a similar time zone is good for Australian athletes and for media exposure.''

Chesterman's achievement in leading an Australian Olympic team on six occasions will match that of the AOC president John Coates, who has led the country's summer teams from 1988-2008.

``Ian is a strong and passionate leader who also has a great rapport with his athletes and he thoroughly deserves to lead the team in 2018,'' Coates said.

Chesterman said he fully expected 2018 to be his final Games before handing over the reins.

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