Benoit Huot Named Canada’s Chef de Mission for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Benoit Huot Photo Courtesy: Vaughn Ridley/Swimming Canada

Paralympic swimming champion Benoit Huot was named Canada’s chef de mission for the delegation to the 2022 Commonwealth Games Tuesday.

Huot, 36, is one of Canada’s most decorated Paralympians, winning 20 medals (including nine golds) over five Games from 2000-16. The native of Longueuil, Quebec, started swimming internationally in 1998 and announced his retirement last year. He’s set numerous world records and was named the 2005 Men’s World Disabled Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World.

“Being named chef for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is a huge honor, and I will do everything I can to ensure an inclusive and inspiring environment for our athletes,” Huot said in a statement. “The Commonwealth Games have been a significant part of my high-performance journey, and I believe that their focus on inclusivity and diversity is of even more importance in the world that we live in today. I look forward to being part of these amazing Games, and hope to inspire our athletes and para-athletes to achieve their objectives in Birmingham in 2022.”

Honors like this are nothing new to Huot. He was the Canada’s assistant chef de mission at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, and its flagbearer at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He’s been awarded the Order of Canada and the National Order of Quebec for his athletic achievements and his advocacy for sporting inclusivity.

The announcement marks the two-year countdown to the games in Birmingham, England. Huot won four medals at the Commonwealth Games, competing in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He was also named the Commonwealth Games Federation Athlete of the Year with a Disability in 2003.

“Ben is an inspired choice as Team Canada’s 2022 Chef de Mission,” said Richard Powers, the president of Commonwealth Sport Canada. “With his storied background as an athlete and his incredible energy and passion for sport, he is the perfect person to lead our Team at the Birmingham Games. We look forward to working closely with him as we prepare our country’s team for 2022 and know that he will give his all to ensure success.”

Huot jumped at the chance to play a role in Canada’s delegation, part of his retirement plans to give back.

“I received so much from the sports system, and now that I’m retired from sports, it’s important for me to give back somehow,” Huot said in an interview with CBC. “And this is a great opportunity.”

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