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Monthly update from our Chef de Mission

on 15-11-2013 14:13

ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014 Penny Briscoe shares an insight into the planning and activity behind preparing the team for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

With just under four months to go untill the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, unsurprisingly it's been a busy month for everyone involved in 'Project Sochi'.

Over the last few weeks my colleagues from the BPA and ParalympicsGB, including myself, have been ‘out in the field’ with the GB athletes; joining the Wheelchair Curlers at the Kinross International, working with the Ice Sledge Hockey squad at the Paralympic Qualifier and spending time with the Alpine Skiing squad at the pre-season preparation camp in Austria.

There was obvious disappointment all round in Turin as despite making significant progress in the last two seasons, the Ice Sledge Hockey squad faced stiff competition in their tournament and failed to secure a slot for Sochi 2014. I hope that the debrief process will highlight to the squad the progress that has been made, which they should feel duly proud of, but also what’s required for them to be in contention for 2018. It was a tough week for the squad, but with talented and committed athletes and staff I hope that the sport sees that it does have a strong foundation to move forward with.

We are now clear on which sports will be representing ParalympicsGB in Sochi, and the time spent in Kinross and Hintertux really helped to develop key relationships, especially between some of the BPA’s newer staff members and the sports.

My personal highlight in the last month was having the opportunity to spend time with the skiers out in Hintertux; firstly being able to observe them in training which was extremely impressive but even more so in being able to work with athletes and staff on a variety of team development activities. What particularly impressed me over the few days I was there was the collective commitment to our team building activity and the creativity shown by some of the athletes in describing themselves and their team mates.

While team building is not always top of the agenda for some people, this core principle is central to the BPA’s approach to best prepared and to my leadership philosophy as Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014. Knowing yourself and knowing your team-mates are critical aspects of any high performing team. We not only need to know what motivates ourselves, but also what motivates others, so that as a team we are able to get the most out of each other in Sochi. The ultimate aim is that through optimal preparation and support we all thrive when it matters most; in the Games environment.

With an even busier month ahead I wish all of the GB athletes the very best in their respective preparation and competition schedules.

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