When the United States Olympic team participates in the opening ceremony of the Vancover Games this Friday, Peachtree City resident Mike Plant will be among them. In fact, he has been on site for a few weeks already making sure everything runs smoothly for the athletes and staff.
Plant, the Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the Atlanta Braves and a former U.S. Olympian Speedskater, is the Chef de Mission for the United States for the 2010 Winter Games.
The Chef de Mission is the senior representative on behalf of the U.S. delegation with the International Olympic Committee and the Vancouver Organizing Committee, as well as other national Olympic committees.
“I work with a full time staff and oversee the plans,” said Plant of his duties, adding that there are 220 athletes and 400 staff members with the U.S. Olympic team. “We require a lot of services, accomodations and transportation and we have a game plan in place. This is not our first rodeo.”
Plant is the first former Winter Olympian to serve as Chef de Mission for the U.S. in the Winter Games. His experience as an athlete, as well as his experience with the Braves, the Goodwill Games, where he served as President and Executive Vice President of Turner Sports, USA Cycling, where he served as Associate Executive Director (1986-88) and President (1995-2002) and USA Canoe/Kayak (1985-1986) give him a good understanding of everything that needs to be done. In addition, Plant also knows that with a good staff in place he doesn’t need to know every detail.
“I don’t plan to meddle in the details because I understand them,” Plant explained. “We have a quality staff and plan and I just listen and ask questions.”
That description is apt but also oversimplifies what undoubtedly will be very long days during the run of the Games. In addition to meetings with his staff and the IOC every day, there are sessions to attend, sponsors to meet with and a lot more.
“Each day, I’m sure I’ll be up before sun rise and maybe in bed by midnight or 1 a.m.,” Plant said. He hoped that he would be able to attend some of the sporting events as part of his job is to be his team’s biggest cheerleader.
“We have a great team this year with a lot of depth,” Plant raved. “Especially in some of the non-traditional sports where we haven’t excelled in the past.”
While all of the festivities are going on in Vancouver, the Braves are getting ready to start spring training and Plant will be in communication with his staff in Atlanta and Orlando as well.
“Just like the staff of the U.S. Olympic team, I work with good people at the Braves,” Plant said. “This isn’t their first rodeo either.”
Plant has lived in Peachtree City for 15 years with his wife, Mary, an Olympic swimming champion, and their children Erika, Maddie and Drew. He hopes to see a lot of U.S. athletes on the medals podium and plans on representing his country and Peachtree City well.