TORONTO (Friday, November 25, 2011) – With much anticipation on who will receive the honours of Canada’s swimmer of the year, Swimming Canada adds to the excitement by announcing that one of its greatest legends in the pool, Alex Baumann, will be presented with the IMPACT award next Monday during the 2011 Big Splash awards gala presented by CN & Vézina in Toronto.
“Alex Baumann is a true Canadian hero. He has inspired so many Canadians with his accomplishments in and out of the pool and was a huge part of in making others in our sport dream of becoming the next Olympic champion,” said Pierre Lafontaine, CEO and National Coach for Swimming Canada.
“When you combine the impression he had as a swimmer with what he has done as the head of Own the Podium, Alex demonstrates the highest qualities of leadership within our sport.
As such, Baumann will be presented with the IMPACT award for the level of positive influence on the sport of swimming and sport in general.
In 2010, Baumann himself presented the first-ever IMPACT award to Mr. Richard Pound, chairman of the CANswim movement.
On Monday, Chris Rudge, former CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee who was instrumental in bringing Baumann back to Canada, will have the honours of presenting the IMPACT award to him.
“Alex Baumann is a unique piece of DNA. When we looked for a leader to follow on the early success of the OTP program, Alex was a natural choice,” said Chris Rudge.
“His fidelity to principal and focus on the ultimate goal with an unwavering commitment to helping athletes achieve their maximum potential, while not succumbing to the intoxication of power sets him apart. Canada has been lucky to have his strong hand on the tiller and he will be missed.”
Baumann’s dedication and hard work in the pool was well rewarded when he won two gold medals and set two world records for Canada at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
In 1984 he was named Canada’s male athlete of the year and was made an officer of the Order of Canada.
In 2006, Baumann returned to Canada (from Australia) to take over the Road to Excellence program, now known as Own the Podium. Under his leadership, Canada had it’s most successful Olympics ever in 2010 with 14 gold medals and 26 medals overall. It was recently announced that for family reasons that Baumann was moving on from Own the Podium to take a similar post in New Zealand.
About Swimming Canada’s Big Splash Awards Gala
The Big Splash is Swimming Canada’s gala to celebrate the best moments in Canadian swimming. The event, taking place at the John Bassett Theatre downtown Toronto, is hosted in support of the CANSwim movement to teach every child in Canada how to swim. James Duthie, from the NHL on TSN will act as host of the Big Splash, along with musical guests Suzie McNeil and Danny Fernandes. Tickets can still be found at www.thebigsplash.ca.