By Duncan Mackay

Jean Luc Brassard being interviewedFebruary 24 - Olympic freestyle skiing gold medallist Jean-Luc Brassard has been appointed as the assistant Chef de Mission of Canada's team at Sochi 2014, it has been announced. 

Brassard, who carried Canada's flag at the Opening Ceremony of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, will work alongside Chef de Mission Steve Podborski, who had been appointed last February.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity, and I am proud to join (Podborski) and the entire 2014 Canadian Olympic Team," said Brassard, who won a gold medal in moguls at Lillehammer 1994. 

"As a member of four Canadian Olympic teams, I know that the team behind the team has a critical role to play and I look forward to supporting each and every member of the Canadian Team in reaching the Olympic podium."

The 40-year-old from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec also won two Freesytle World Ski Championship titles.

Brassard also won 20 gold medals on the World Cup circuit and earned podium finishes a total of 47 times and Podborski hopes that he will use that experience to help guide Canada's team at Sochi where they are hoping to finish top overall of the medals table for a second consecutive Winter Olympics.

"Perhaps most importantly, he'll help motivate and inspire the athletes and the coaches and all of the others do well in Sochi because it'll be a great big challenge," said Podborski, a former downhill skier who competed in two Olympic Games and won bronze in the downhill at Lake Placid in 1980.

Jean Luc Brassard carrying flag Nagano 1998Jean Luc Brassard carrying the Canadian flag at the Opening Ceremony of Nagano 1998

At Vancouver 2010 Canadians won 14 gold medals, seven silver and five bronze.

"In Sochi, it's going to be profoundly different than it was in Vancouver, when everywhere we went there was a real positive vibration, because all the volunteers and all the people working the lifts and the guys in the hockey arenas [were] all Canadian guys," said Podborski.

"He'll be another tool in the chest that will allow us to be successful in Sochi.

"With four Games under his belt, he has dealt with everything that can be thrown at an athlete, which is going to be a huge asset on the ground in Sochi.

"Equally important, though, is his approachable and friendly personality.

"When you combine this with his gritty determination and competitiveness, it's easy to see why he is so important to Canada's winning tradition at the Games.

"I can't think of anyone else I would want by my side to lead this incredible Canadian Olympic team."

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