The appointment was made at a meeting of the AOC Executive last night with unanimous support.
Chesterman’s appointment continues the policy of the position being filled by a member of the AOC Executive.
“I would like to thank John Coates and the AOC Executive for entrusting me with this role,” Chesterman said.
“I know it’s a big job and I am excited to be involved. It's a very exciting time for Australian sport. Three Olympic Games in Asia – South Korea in 2018, Japan in 2020 and then China in 2022 – represents a huge opportunity for us.”
Chesterman is no stranger to the role of Chef de Mission and no stranger to working with the Japanese having lead his first Olympic Team in Nagano in 1998. In less than 170 days’ time, he will lead his sixth Australian Olympic Winter Team to PyeongChang, South Korea.
“Tokyo will put on an exceptional Games. My first Games as Chef de Mission in Nagano in 1998 were brilliant. Japan did a wonderful job then and I'm sure will do so again,” he said.
In his role in winter sports in Australia, Chesterman has helped oversee steady improvement across a range of disciplines which has recently seen our athletes rewrite the record books.
“Ian has long played a key role in the successful preparation of our Olympic Winter Teams and we are excited to have him on board for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said AOC President John Coates.
“He has been a constant positive presence amongst Australian winter sports for over two decades, helping to oversee the growth and development of our winter athletes. We are confident he will be able to replicate the positive structures and leadership he has put in place for winter sports into the summer Chef de Mission position and in turn give our athletes the best opportunity to thrive.”
Chesterman also believes his vast experience with winter Olympic athletes will be transferrable to the Summer Team.
“The focus for me has always been, and will always be, on the athletes. It doesn't matter whether they are in a ski suit or a swim suit. Our challenge is how do we give every team member the best chance to produce their best performance on the day that matters most to them.
“It’s the same challenge we face for our winter team, and while the Tokyo team is obviously bigger with a more diverse range of sports, if we can achieve that goal Australia will have a very good Games.
“I've got great faith that we are growing outstanding young Australians and I'm in awe of the way this generation see their world. We will encourage that positive outlook and empower them to pursue their best.”
A long-time sports administrator always looking for an edge, Chesterman has maintained a keen interest in expanding his knowledge by keeping a close eye on how summer sports in Australia are run.
“As someone who has been involved in winter sports for a long time, I have watched and learned from summer sports across the years. I know there is so much talent in the summer sports, from athletes to coaches to administrators, and I am looking forward to working with them to together create the environment which allows their sports to flourish on the Olympic stage.
“That's the job for our leadership team and It's a challenge we will embrace.
“Our new CEO, Matt Carroll, is running an excellent team at the AOC, and we will put a leadership group together, with an eye to the future, who will be committed to supporting every sport and every athlete in Tokyo.” he said.
Chesterman acknowledged 2016 Rio Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller for her work in the leadup and during the Rio Games.
“I thank Kitty for all her work. Having pride in representing Australia on a world stage is in our DNA. Kitty Chiller and her team did a great job reinforcing that going into Rio and that legacy remains.
“In the meantime, we’ve got an excellent team together working towards success in PyeongChang in February next year.
“I'm sure the Olympic spirit is strong and Australians will back our athletes, first in PyeongChang and then in Tokyo” he said.