Gotell elected Chairperson of Athletes’ Council

The Paralympic swimming champion succeeds outgoing Chairperson Todd Nicholson. 31 Mar 2017
Three female swimmers pose for a photo

Canadian swimmer Kirby Cote (silver), Chelsey Gotell (gold), and Valerie Grand Maison (bronze) at Beijing 2008

ⒸGetty IMages

“I think this is the next progression in what I have done in the past and what I would like to do in the future, which is creating a voice for the athletes and athlete advocacy. That is a huge passion of mine.”

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that Chelsey Gotell has been elected as Chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council for the next four years.

Gotell, 31, takes over the role of Chairperson from fellow Canadian Todd Nicholson, who was elected to the Council in 2013.

A three-time Paralympian who won golds at the Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, Gotell was originally elected to the IPC Athletes’ Council at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Her first Paralympic Games as an athlete were in Sydney, Australia, where she was the youngest member of the Canadian delegation. She won a total of 12 Paralympic medals, including three golds (100m backstroke S13 from Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004; and 200m individual medley SM13 from Beijing 2008).

She worked for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games Organising Committee for four years before deciding to leave her job to pursue a degree at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy, where she has one year left to study.

Gotell has been active in being a voice for athletes in her home nation, serving as Vice Chair of the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Athlete Council.

The IPC Athletes’ Council is the collective voice of Paralympic athletes within the IPC and the greater Paralympic Movement. Its role is to provide feedback and advice, and report to the IPC Governing Board on behalf of and in the interest of the athletes in all IPC matters.

As Chairperson, Gotell will be an ex oficio member of the IPC Governing Board with voting rights. She will also be put forward by the IPC to join the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission.

Gotell said: “It’s a huge honour to be the IPC Athletes’ Council Chairperson. At the same time it is a little daunting because I think Todd has done an excellent job in engaging Athlete Representatives [for the sports] and building the Council to the level it is at now. It has come a long way since he has gotten involved.

“I think this is the next progression in what I have done in the past and what I would like to do in the future, which is creating a voice for the athletes and athlete advocacy. That is a huge passion of mine.”

Nicholson said: “The IPC Athletes’ Council has come a long way in my last four years and I know that with Chelsey as the new Chairperson and the other IPC Athletes' Council members who are around the table, they will continue to help with the athletes' voice in the Paralympic Movement.”

Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s Chief Executive Officer said: “I would like to congratulate Chelsey on becoming the new IPC Athletes’ Council Chairperson. She has an important role in bringing the athlete voices to the decision-making table, and I look forward to working with her at her first IPC Governing Board meeting in Barcelona, Spain in May.

“Chelsey takes over at a time when the Paralympic Movement is seeing significant growth and with that we need to make sure the athletes’ voice is fully represented.”

The IPC Athletes' Council is made up of nine athletes – six from summer sports and three from winter sports.

The six summer sport members are Gotell; sitting volleyball player Elvira Stinissen of the Netherlands; British cyclist Dame Sarah Storey; Turkish archer Gizem Girisem; US cyclist Monica Bascio; and Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley.

The three winter sport council members are Norwegian ice hockey player Eskil Hagen; alpine skier Katja Saarinen from Finland and Russian cross country skier Mikhail Terentiev.

For further information on the IPC Athletes’ Council, please visit