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Ozzie Sawicki inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Cochrane's Ozzie Sawicki was inducted into the 2024 Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on May 24, for his contributions in Paralympic sports building.

A leader in Cochrane’s sports community will be cemented in Alberta’s sports history, as Cochrane’s Ozzie Sawicki was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on May 24.

Sawicki was nominated last year for the Hall's 2024 class, and was formally inducted following a ceremony that took place in Red Deer.

Over the last 30 years, Sawicki was involved in Paralympic sport. He said his journey is sports first started with coaching alpine skiing in the late 1980s. Ten years later, Sawicki said he became more involved in coaching adaptive skiing.

“And by the year 2000, I was hired to coach the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team, and I was in that role for four years,” Sawicki said. “Then I went through a progression of roles in high performance sports beyond alpine skiing.”

This involved working with the development structure of para-alpine skiing in Canada, head coach of the Para-Athletics Team for Canada, and performance advisor for the Paralympic equestrian teams.

For his countless contributions, Sawicki was inducted as a Paralympic builder for his involvement in various Paralympic sports. He said it was truly an honour and privilege to be chosen alongside the other inductees at this year’s ceremony.

“It meant a lot to be recognized for the work that’s been done,” Sawicki said. “It was a great class of inductees for 2024.”

“A fellow inductee, Patrick Jarvis, is a Paralympic builder and he has been a collaborator for so many decades; so it’s just nice to see Paralympic sport being worked on as an aspect of who’s been involved in building and coaching.”

Sawicki said it is exciting to see the strides being made in Paralympic sports. He notes that over the last 15 to 20 years, it has really taken its own course of evolution in parallel to the Olympic process at a grassroots and development level.

“In Cochrane, it has become a growing program ... to where we’re trying to implement a Paralympic training centre in town,” he said. “That something my business, Parasport International, has been working towards over the last three years. And we’re making strides, becoming a leader in the Paralympic sport community.”

As a leader in Paralympic sports, Sawicki said his job is far from over. He adds that this could have never been achieved without the help of mentor and several influences throughout his journey.

“This isn’t about one person, this is very much a collaborative requirement to make things happen,” Sawicki said. “So, I think as we see Paralympic sport gaining more notoriety and attention, it’s really important to really draw on in a new basis of knowledge and a new generation of desired interest to be involved.”

Sawicki said he would like to give thanks to the endless list of supporters. He added that it is a valuable message for many like himself who contributed in meaningful ways to sports in Alberta.

“It’s important for people from all walks of life whether it’s coaching, builders, or athletes, and what they’ve done for a career,” Sawicki said. “The recognition of that is really worthwhile and it promotes the idea that sport is important, and it certainly has an effect on societal impacts on how communities work towards health, betterment, and activity.”

Daniel Gonzalez

About the Author: Daniel Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2022. He is a graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program. He has worked for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and as a reporter in rural Alberta for the ECA Review.
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