By James Crook

maxresdefault 1July 31 - The British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association have appointed VisitBritain head Christopher Rodrigues as their new chairman with hopes that he will successfully oversee the full merger between the two organisations.

Rodrigues, who competed for Cambridge University in the Boat Race twice in 1970 and 1971, has served as chairman of VisitBritain - the moniker used by the British Tourist Authority - since 2007, and also holds roles as an Executive Committee member of the World Travel and Tourism Council and as a Trustee of the National Trust.

He was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2007 New Year Honours list for services to British business interests and charitable works in the UK and United States.

"It is an exciting time to be involved in British Olympic winter sport and in particular to lead two sports with such a credible sporting history in Great Britain," said Rodrigues.

"I know the two operations are in excellent shape as we head into the Sochi 2014 Olympic season and I hope I can add value off the track to ensure the sports continue to go from strength to strength.

"I look forward to meeting the athletes and team members as soon as I can."

Rodrigues will be tasked with overseeing the completion of the merger between the British Bobsleigh and British Skeleton organisations, which began in 2010 with the hope of seeing the sole organisation become responsible for overseeing performance, the development of youth and futures programmes, the development of Parasport and the encouragement of wider participation in both disciplines.

Chairman of British Bobsleigh, Sir Andrew Ridgway, and chairman of British Skeleton, Lord Clifton Wrottesley, released a joint statement to welcome Rodrigues to the role.

96848549Britain's Amy Williams made history at Vancouver 2010 by winning Britain's first solo gold medal at a Winter Games in thirty years, winning the women's skeleton

"We are delighted to welcome Christopher to the team at such a pivotal and exciting time for Bobsleigh and Skeleton in the UK," read the statement.

"His experience and insight will be invaluable for our sports both domestically and in the international arena and we are confident he will lead us through this transition to become an even more effective and efficient governing body."

Britain's Sports Minister Hugh Robertson also hailed the appointment and backed Rodrigues to lead the organisation to a successful future.

"Christopher Rodrigues is an excellent chairman of VisitBritain who has all the necessary sports and commercial experience to be an outstanding chairman of the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association," he said.

"With six months to go until Sochi 2014 and British Olympic sport in such good health, this is an exciting time for the sports and Christopher is exactly the right man to lead it into this new era."

Britain has seen success in skeleton and bobsleigh in recent years, most notably the Olympic gold medal won by Amy Williams at Vancouver 2010 in the skeleton, Britain's first individual gold medal at a Winter Games for 30 years.

Also, this year has seen the first British skeleton world champion in the form of Shelley Rudman, who took gold in St Moritz in February, and there were also gold medals in both skeleton and bobsleigh for the women's team at the 2012 Junior World Championships in Igls.

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