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Former Olympic bronze medalist Georgina Harland has become the first ever female Chef de Mission for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at an Olympic Games

Georgina Harland will lead Team GB at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics after being appointed Chef de Mission for the Games - a first for women.

Harland, who was born in Canterbury and grew up in Kent, won modern pentathlon bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Georgina Harland, BOA Chef De Mission for the 2022 Winter Olympics Picture: TeamGB.com (35385341)
Georgina Harland, BOA Chef De Mission for the 2022 Winter Olympics Picture: TeamGB.com (35385341)

The 42-year-old is a former pupil at Benenden School, near Cranbrook and she becomes the first ever female Chef de Mission for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at an Olympic Games and has described the appointment as an honour and a privilege.

The role sees her take charge of the planning, preparation and execution of Team GB’s participation in the Games, which take place between February 4-20, 2022.

She said: “I am so honoured to have been asked to take on the role.

“I have a deep passion for the Olympic movement and all it encompasses, and so outside of representing your country as an athlete, which I have been fortunate enough to do, this is the next best thing.

“Being named as Chef de Mission is a privilege, and I will give everything I can to the role on behalf of all of our winter athletes and sports.

“The growth and development of Team GB as a winter nation is incredibly exciting, and Team GB’s record-breaking performances in Sochi and PyeongChang are testament to this.

“I am very much looking forward to the journey to Beijing in 2022 and making it a memorable and successful experience for our athletes and the broader team.”

Georgina Harland with her bronze medal which saw won in 2004 Picture: Barry Duffield
Georgina Harland with her bronze medal which saw won in 2004 Picture: Barry Duffield

She has also said that breaking new ground, in becoming the first woman to take on the chef role in 124 years of the Games’ history was a proud feeling, commenting in the Telegraph: “It’s not the defining factor that I’m a woman coming into this Chef role but I do feel proud of that fact.”

Since retiring as an athlete, having also picked up gold medals at the World and European Championships, Harland has been a Sport Engagement Manager at the British Olympic Association (BOA) for close to a decade.

Earlier this year she acted as Chef de Mission at the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games in Lausanne. She has previously been a deputy in the role for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and will do the same at the Tokyo Games which have been moved to next summer.

BOA chairman Hugh Robertson described Harland - an honorary life member of the City of Canterbury Swimming Club - as a “natural leader who brings the insight of an Olympic medallist and has allied it to over ten years’ experience at the BOA.”

Chief exec Andy Anson added: “Georgie is an outstanding member of the BOA’s team. She is vastly experienced, both as an athlete and a performance lead in the Olympic environment.

“She will bring a calm authority to the team and will create a relaxed and focussed environment in which the athletes will be able to perform to the best of their ability. I have seen her close-up in action in Lausanne and have been incredibly impressed with her approach.”

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