Julie O'Neill will serve as Team USA's chef de mission for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee announced today that Julie O'Neill has been selected to serve Team USA as the chef de mission of Team USA for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Selected by the USOC board of directors, O’Neill will provide overall leadership to Team USA and function as the liaison officer between the Sochi Organizing Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and other National Olympic Committees at the Games.
“Julie will do an outstanding job of leading Team USA in Sochi for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games,” said Scott Blackmun, USOC chief executive officer. “As someone who works day in and day out to make the U.S. Paralympic teams the best in the world, there is no one better suited to ensure that our athletes have the best possible foundation for success in Russia.”
O’Neill has worked at the USOC for more than 10 years and currently serves as the team leader of sport performance for U.S. Paralympics. O’Neill oversees the high performance planning process and sport development projects for Paralympic cycling, swimming and track and field as well as alpine and Nordic skiing. Under her leadership Team USA has grown significantly in size, with 77 athletes expected on the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team, an increase of 27 from the 50 athletes who competed at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
“It is an honor to be selected as the chef de mission for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games,” said O’Neill. “Our athletes have spent thousands of hours and made numerous sacrifices to prepare for these Games. It is my pleasure to be able to support them behind the scenes to give them the best possible experience in Sochi.”
O’Neill first started in the Paralympic Movement as a coach for the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Team. O’Neill was named the 2006 U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympic Coach of the Year for leading the U.S. team that won the overall medal count at the IPC World Championships in Durban, South Africa. It was the first time the U.S. had won the medal count at a world championship or Paralympic Games in the sport of swimming.
O’Neill is a graduate of Purdue University with a bachelor of arts degree in Russian and Ohio State University with a masters of arts degree in Slavic and East European studies.