Kate Caithness Recognised in Queen’s New Year Honours
Kate Caithness has been involved with the sport of curling since the early 1980s. Since 2000, her involvement has been at local level in communities across Scotland helping people with disabilities try the sport for the first time. She simultaneously became involved in national committees with the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and was instrumental in forming the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association. Following her term as President of the Ladies branch of the RCCC, Kate became an international representative for Scotland at the World Federation, she was then appointed Project Leader for the Wheelchair Curling for the WCF before being elected as Vice President of the World Curling Federation in 2006, eventually becoming President in 2010 and then became more active in the Olympic movement.
Kate has been the driving force behind the development of the sport of wheelchair curling at Scottish, GB and international level for the last 10 years. She has opened up the sport of curling to a whole new spectrum of the community and has supported numerous athletes to perform their chosen sport to the highest level. She has also campaigned vigorously to have her sport included within the Winter Paralympic programme which was achieved in Turin in 2006 when Team GB also collected the silver medal. Kate achieved all of this as a volunteer and over the years has dedicated countless hours in pursuit of her goals. She has inspired players, coaches and officials and her legacy will be a robust and sustainable infrastructure for the sport moving forward.
The impact of Kate’s contribution has been immense in the sport of Curling and particularly wheelchair curling which she has led in the UK and internationally to become a Paralympic sport.
Kate Caithness became president of the World Curling Federation, and is the first female President of any winter Olympic sports world governing body and currently one of two only British Presidents of International Olympic Federations. She has provided leadership and managed the process of introducing the sport for wheelchair users across Scotland and getting the sport recognised and then included in the Paralympics in 2006. Kate was the inspiration behind the introduction of wheelchair curling in Scotland and across the world. In 2000 she attended an international wheelchair curling conference in Switzerland and returned determined to develop opportunities for Scottish wheelchair users to access the sport. During the next couple of years, Kate organised and ran a series of come and try sessions at curling rinks across Scotland encouraging and inspiring all those who came along. Her enthusiasm rubbed off and the result was the development of a club structure that we see in Scotland today. Another result of the taster days was the formation of a Scottish Wheelchair Curling squad who were pitched into international competition at the Wold Championships of 2002. The team exceeded all expectations returning home with a bronze medal and going on to clinch the World Titles in 2004 and 2005. Throughout this period, Kate fulfilled the role of volunteer Wheelchair Curling Co-ordinator with Scottish Disability Sport and was directly responsible for the establishment of Scottish and GB Wheelchair Curling Associations, the introduction of the World Championships and so much more.
Kate served on the IPC Sports Management and Games Committees and in 2008 was asked to conduct a review of the sports in the Paralympic programme during the Beijing Paralympic Games. In 2010 Kate was appointed to the IOC Sports Programme Commission and she is a member of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations.
Kate Caithness has a wonderful combination of passion for curling, charm to get the best out of those around her, commitment to the causes that she represents and an ability to bring the best out of other people for the greater good.
Speaking about the award at the WCF, Kate Caithness said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted. It is a great honour and is wonderful recognition for the sport of curling and wheelchair curling and all those involved in playing and developing the sport.”