Special Olympics Canada Announces Johnny Byrne as Chef de Mission for 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games

TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Special Olympics Canada is very pleased to announce the appointment of Johnny Byrne as the Chef de Mission for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California. This international competition is set to take place between July 25 and August 2, 2015, and will see the participation of more than 7,000 athletes from as many as 170 nations. The 14th Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles marks the first time in 16 years the games will be on American soil.

As chef de mission, Byrne's primary responsibility over the next year and a half will be to provide leadership to the Canadian team attending this international competition.

"I am both honoured and humbled to be named Chef de Mission for Team Canada," said Byrne. "I am stepping into this role following in the footsteps of many amazing leaders and visionaries that have gone before me."

"There is an expectation of excellence for our National Team Program and I see myself providing a strong athlete-centered vision and passion for our team that will build upon the past and propel us into the future. We have a responsibility to our athletes to prepare the best team possible for the world stage and I am so happy to be able to be a part of that journey," Byrne noted.

Currently serving as President and CEO of Special Olympics Alberta, Johnny Byrne comes to Team Canada with a wealth of sport management and volunteer experience.  His former roles as Team Manager and Mission Staff for Special Olympics previous World Games have given him the understanding and knowledge necessary to provide support and leadership for Team Canada members. In addition to his Special Olympics World Games experience, Byrne has taken on the Chef de Mission role for a number of National and Provincial Games, highlighting his familiarity with the position. Byrne brings with him a passion for, and commitment to, the National Team Program and Special Olympics Movement.

Hopes are high for the Canadian team. At the recent 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games held in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, Team Canada brought home an astounding 109 medals. Looking forward to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, led by Johnny Byrne, Team Canada is poised to continue this success.

About Special Olympics Canada

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through sport. Operating out of sport clubs in all Canadian provinces and territories, except Nunavut, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sports to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 35,880 children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada, and they are supported by more than 16,452 volunteers, including more than 12,209 trained coaches.

About the National Team Program

Providing athletes, coaches and mission staff a formalized approach to training and preparation for Special Olympics World Games, the National Team Program ensures athletes have access to quality training, coaching and competitive opportunities to reach optimal performance and a positive experience as a member of the national team.

For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter (@SpecialOCanada).