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News posted on Tuesday 22nd March, 2022

Lynette Grace – Deputy Chef de Mission. How a supportive crew can get a team over the finish line

Entire NZ Paralympic Team at Paralympic Village, group photo in front of mountain backdrop

New Zealand has come home with not ONE but FOUR Paralympic Winter Games medals, so what does it take to create such a successful team?

To get a closer look into one of the key roles involved with the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, we spoke to Lynette Grace (a.k.a. Gracey), who held the position of Deputy Chef De Mission.

As Deputy Chef De Mission, Gracey dispensed a wealth of experience, mastering high-performance environments that laid the foundation for athlete success. 

Essentially, in terms of Beijing 2022, Gracey went about her business:

“Making sure people have exactly what they need when they need it, and making sure they are fully supported.”

“There is a lot of administration and logistics, a lot of operational support that goes on in the background, and I just try and do that, quietly with no fuss so everyone has what they need to perform.”

Gracey at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
Gracey with Paralympian Aaron Ewen, and other NZ Support Staff

Gracey at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

With years of planning and hard work leading up to the Paralympics, success is thanks to the dedicated team of professionals behind the athletes.

When asked about the team dynamic, Gracey’s smile lit up. “The vibe within the team is really good, as there is that familiarity around us all that is nice. It’s really family-orientated. Everyone knows their role and they are all professionals at it.” With being separated from their families and support systems back home, a tight-knit bond is needed.

The New Zealand Team at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games left to right: Physio Graeme White, Deputy Chef de Mission Gracey, Wax tech Curtis Christian, Paralympian Adam Hall, Chef de Mission Jane Stevens, Paralympian Aaron Ewen, Assistant Coach Scott Palmer, Paralympian Corey Peters, Medical Lead Dr Bruce Hamilton, Head Coach Ben Adams.

The New Zealand Paralympic Team at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games left to right: Physio Graeme White, Deputy Chef de Mission Gracey, Wax tech Curtis Christian, Paralympian Adam Hall, Chef de Mission Jane Stevens, Paralympian Aaron Ewen, Assistant Coach Scott Palmer, Paralympian Corey Peters, Medical Lead Dr Bruce Hamilton, Head Coach Ben Adams.

You may wonder what it’s like in the Paralympic Village.

Paralympic Winter Village, Beijing 2022. Photo taken outside the village
Paralympic Village, Beijing 2022.

“The atmosphere in the village has a good vibe. We try to make it fun whilst ensuring everyone can rest and recover when needed. Beijing 2022 have supplied very really comfortable beds; they are all remote controlled!”

Lynette Grace

A shout out to Harvey Norman who supplied the team with Bambillo mattress toppers to give even more comfort.

And picture this, the Village dining hall – endless drink selections, cereal stations, salad stations, specialties, pizza, pasta, Chinese and Halal selection. A great range, open 24 hours!

Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games Village Dining Hall.

Gracey’s favourite food was the dumplings. “They are delicious. And there’s a particularly nice lemon fizzy drink called ‘AH HA’, which is really good.”

After a long journey back to New Zealand, the first thing Gracey wanted to do was hug her children, and she did precisely that, even if it was extremely early in the morning after her arrival home. They will no doubt be very excited to have their mum home. 

Gracey at Auckland airport, with Fiona Allan (PNZ CE), Paralympian Corey Peters and his partner
Gracey among the New Zealand Paralympic Team being welcomed back to NZ soil from the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

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