Canadian swimming great to lead High Performance Sport New Zealand

September 7, 2011

Canadian swimming great Alex Baumann has today been named as the new Chief Executive of High Performance Sport New Zealand.

Baumann, 47, is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Own the Podium, Canada’s high performance sport programme. He will take up the new role on January 31 next year.

High Performance Sport New Zealand Board chairman Paul Collins says there was an extremely strong field of both local and international applicants for the role, and the board was delighted with the calibre of the appointment.

“We carried out an international search because we wanted someone with the right mix of skills and experience, someone who would bring something really special to this role,” he said.

“Alex Baumann has had an extensive career in high performance sport, both as an athlete and sport administrator. We’re thrilled that he is keen to be part of our vision for high performance sport in New Zealand.”

Baumann is one of Canada’s greatest swimmers, winning gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in both the 200 metre and 400m individual medley races, and in world record times. He also won five gold medals and two silver medals at the 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games.

He was twice named World Male Swimmer of the Year, in 1981 and 1984, and is a member of the Canadian Sports and Canadian Amateur Sports Hall of Fame. He has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada and has received the Order of Ontario.

Baumann was born in Prague and moved to Canada with his family as a child. He is married to an Australian and spent 15 years living there, during which he was the Executive Director for the Queensland Academy of Sport and Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Swimming. He returned to Canada five years ago to work with that country’s high performance athletes, becoming CE of Own The Podium in April last year.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Murray McCully says Baumann’s appointment is a coup for New Zealand as he has such outstanding international credentials.

“This is a very significant appointment, and indicates how serious the Government is about taking our high performance sport programme to a new level,” he says.

“High performance sport here is getting the largest Government funding injection in its history. We want a culture of excellence, and someone of Alex Baumann’s standing is the right person to lead that.”

Baumann says this is an exciting opportunity for him.

“I’ve always admired how New Zealand does so well on the international stage for a relatively small country. I have a lot of respect for what you’ve achieved, and I’m looking forward to working with the team and seeing what is possible.”

Baumann says he and his wife and two teenage children will also enjoy the opportunity to be closer to family in Australia.

For further information, contact: Andrea Blackshaw on 04 472 8058 ext 3978, or 021 953 349 or by emailing andrea.blackshaw@hpsnz.org.nz.

HPSNZ is a subsidiary of SPARC and has been formed through a merger of the New Zealand Academy of Sport and SPARC's High Performance Unit. Fore more information, visit www.hpsnz.org.nz.

More information

See Profile of HPSNZ Chief Executive Alex Baumann