27 October 2011

Alex Baumann as Chief Executive of High Performance Sport NZ

Canadian swimming great to lead High Performance Sport New Zealand@HPS NZ

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.

NZ National Training Centre@AUT

Official opening for National Training Centre for high performance athletes at Auckland@HPS NZ

Minister for Sport and Recreation Murray McCully says New Zealanders can look forward to seeing more Kiwi winners on the world stage, as the doors officially open today at the National Training Centre for high performance athletes in Auckland.

High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) is based at the National Training Centre at the AUT Millennium Campus, on Auckland’s North Shore.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Murray McCully (left) and IOC President Jacques Rogge unveil the plaque at the official opening of the National Training Centre at the Millennium Institute.
HPSNZ was established in August by merging SPARC’s high performance unit with the two New Zealand Academies of Sport, and today its new chief executive Alex Baumann was in Auckland for the official opening. Baumann, one of Canada’s greatest ever swimmers, was appointed to the position recently and starts his new role at the end of January 2012.

Mr McCully said today that at the heart of the new organisation was a commitment to excellence.

“The whole team at HPSNZ is dedicated to providing the best support to New Zealand’s elite athletes so that they can perform at their best and win for New Zealand,’’ the Minister says.

“High Performance Sport New Zealand will have an annual spend of $60 million, up on $40m a year previously, and the Government has committed just under $32m to develop world-class training and competition facilities in partnerships with the private sector.

“Our belief is that this investment in facilities coupled with a dedicated high performance system with its focus on excellence will be the envy of other countries, will bring winning results which all New Zealanders can be proud of, and will inspire the next generation of elite Kiwi competitors.

“It’s very exciting to see top athletes using our newest high performance facility, here at the National Training Centre in Auckland.’’

The National Training Centre for high performance athletes was today officially opened by the Minister and the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge, who is in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.

The Government made a $15m cornerstone investment in a more than $40m redevelopment at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health to provide world-class facilities for high performance athletes. These facilities include testing, training, treatment and recovery areas for high performance athletes as well as HPSNZ offices and support areas.

The Government has also invested in regional high performance centres at Wellington and Dunedin, a national cycling centre of excellence which will be based at Cambridge and have operations for all Olympic bike disciplines, the high performance centre for rowing at Lake Karapiro, and an ocean water sports centre in Auckland. The Government is also committed to providing high performance training facilities for Canterbury-based athletes.

Mr McCully also announced today that to reflect the alignment of the sport system and HPSNZ, from next year SPARC will be known as Sport New Zealand.

“SPARC’s strategic focus has changed in recent years and Sport NZ better captures this. Sport NZ will continue to invest in community sport and recreation and build capacity across the entire sector in its role leading the single sport and recreation system.’’