Born and raised in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Chelsey Gotell started swimming at the age of eight. At age 13 she discovered Para swimming and soon after was selected to represent Canada at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, where she was the youngest member of the Canadian delegation. Over the next decade Chelsey became a three-time Paralympian, a 12-time Paralympic medallist and world record holder in numerous events.
Outside of the pool, Chelsey obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from McMaster University and is currently a student at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy. She was an Athlete Services Officer for the Canadian Paralympic Team Mission Staff at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. She also worked for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee for over four years.
In her spare time, she is a passionate athlete advocate for sport and the Paralympic movement and a motivational speaker who believes in what the power of sport can do to positively change lives.
Chelsey was elected as vice-chair of the Canadian Paralympic Committee Athlete Council in 2014 and was elected chair in April 2016. She officially moves into the position in April 2017 after the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. The Chair has a voting seat on the Canadian Paralympic Committee Board of Directors.
Chelsey is also an athlete representative at the international level. In September 2016, she was elected by international athletes during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete Council. In March 2017 she was elected as Chairperson of the IPC Athlete Council for a four-year term.
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.