October 31 - Russian-speaking Julie O'Neill has been appointed as the United States Chef De Mission for the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games, it was announced today.
Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), claimed O'Neill was the perfect candidate to take on the role.
"Julie will do an outstanding job of leading Team USA in Sochi for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games," he said.
"As someone who works day in and day out to make the US Paralympic teams the best in the world, there is no one better suited to ensure that our athletes have the best possible foundation for success in Russia."
O'Neill has played a significant role in the development of the US Paralympic team over the years, leading an expansion that has seen the team increase from by 50 at Vancouver 2010 to nearly 80 at Sochi 2014.
She currently serves as the team leader of Sport Performance for the USOC overseeing the high performance planning process and sport development projects for athletics, cycling, swimming and Alpine and Nordic skiing.
O'Neill graduated from Purdue University a degree in Russian and from Ohio State University with a degree in Slavic and East European Studies
O'Neill had joined US Paralympics in 2003 as an associate director and head coach of the
national swimming team.
Under her leadership, the swimming team achieved unparalleled success at Beijing 2008
as the team finished first in the medal standings for the first time, winning 17 gold medals.
"It is an honour to be selected as the Chef de Mission for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games," said O'Neill.
"Our athletes have spent thousands of hours and made numerous sacrifices to prepare for these Games.
"It is my pleasure to be able to support them behind the scenes to give them the best possible experience in Sochi."
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September 2011: Julie O'Neill - Looking forward to London 2012 USA is focussed on the podium
January 2011: Julie O'Neill - Team USA poised to lay a great foundation for London 2012 Paralympics