Jacques Cardyn to Lead Team Canada Into 2011 Pan American Games as Chef de Mission

Canadian Olympic Committee Selects Fencing Great, Former Assistant Chef

Jacques Cardyn is returning to the Pan American Games, this time to lead Team Canada. The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced today that the 1983 gold medallist in fencing and 1984 Olympian has been named Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2011 Pan American Games.

The XVI Pan American Games begin two years today in Guadalajara, Mexico. They run from Oct. 13 to 30, 2011.

“It is a great honor to have been selected by the COC as Chef de Mission,” said Cardyn, 53, who was Canada’s Assistant Chef de Mission at the Rio 2007 Pan American Games. “I am excited to put all my energy for the next two years toward this great reunion of the Americas and to work for the success of our Canadian athletes.”

Born in Chile-Chico, Chile and a resident of Montreal, Cardyn was captain of Canada’s men’s épée team when it set a Canadian best fourth-place finish at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. He was also named to the 1980 Olympic team. Cardyn is a two-time Pan American Games athlete, first in 1979 and then in 1983 when he won gold in team épée.

In 1985 Cardyn retired from competition after 10 years with the national team but remained closely connected to fencing and Canadian sport. He was a coach, team leader and high performance director with the Canadian Fencing Federation. Cardyn helped lead the national fencing team into many major events including the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, the Mar del Plata 1995 Pan American Games and both the 1991 and 1997 World Championships.

“Jacques was a great athlete and is an exemplary sports leader in Canada,” said COC President Michael Chambers. “He has had tremendous influence in developing Canadian fencers over the past 25 years. His natural enthusiasm, leadership ability and dedication to amateur sport makes him a perfect fit to lead Canada’s Pan American Team in Guadalajara.”

Cardyn is an important figure in Canadian sport, particularly in Quebec. He is the founder and first president of the Quebec Athletes Association. He has also led the Quebec Fencing Federation as president. Since the early 1990s, he has been a member of the organizing committee for the fencing World Cup in Montreal.

Outside high performance sport, Cardyn is employed in the student services department and is a fencing épée coach for the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf in Montreal. He is married to Constanza Oriani, an Argentinean fencer who competed at the 1984 Olympic Games and was a medallist at the 1983 Pan American Games.

“My attachment to the Pan American sports culture and its people is visceral and strengthened by my birth in Chile and my marriage to an Argentinean athlete,” Cardyn said. “The Pan Am Games are an ideal platform for learning and the pursuit of excellence of our athletes before the London Olympics in 2012.”