Canadian legend Stephanie Dixon named chef de mission for 2020 Paralympics

Stephanie Dixon, one of the greatest para-swimmers ever, will lead Canada into the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as chef de mission.

The Canadian Paralympic Committee made the announcement Wednesday, confirming Dixon will be at the helm for the next two years. She will also lead Canada into the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Dixon is a 19-time Paralympic medallist, including seven gold.

Born without a right leg and hip, Dixon began swimming lessons when she was two. At 13, she was competing against able-bodied athletes. By age 14, she made Canada's national team for swimmers with a disability.

Born in Brampton, Ont., Dixon made her Paralympic Games debut at 16, competing in Sydney where she captured five gold medals and three in world-record time.

"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."

Dixon, 35, continues to be involved in the Paralympic movement. She is a swim coach in Whitehorse and is an influential advocate for inclusive sport. In 2016, Dixon was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2018.

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As chef de mission, Dixon will serve on the leadership team for the Canadian team with an aim of providing athletes the best experience and conditions to succeed. She will also act as an official spokesperson, promoting the Games, athletes, and Paralympic movement.

"We are so thrilled to have Stephanie join our team for Lima and Tokyo," said Canadian Paralympic Committee president Marc-André Fabien. "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."