OTTAWA - Longtime coach Ozzie Sawicki will serve as chef de mission for the Canadian team at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.
The Cochrane, Alta., resident will act as team spokesperson and help guide athletes towards the Canadian Paralympic Committee's goal of a top-three finish in the gold-medal standings.
"The opportunity to lead a team that is striving towards excelling at the highest performance levels on an international stage is a chance of a lifetime," Sawicki said Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to ensuring our athletes have all the support they need so that the success and momentum Canada experienced at the Vancouver Games can be carried through to Sochi, Russia."
Sawicki, who has experience in four Paralympic Games, was head coach and program director of the Canadian para-alpine ski team from 2000 to 2004. He also served as head coach of the para-athletics program with Athletics Canada from 2009 to 2011 and as performance adviser to the Canadian para-equestrian team at the London Paralympics last year.
As chef de mission, Sawicki will also ensure the responsibilities and duties of all team personnel are carried out.
"It's exciting to not just be representing a sport but to be representing the Canadian team as a whole — I have a lot of pride in that," Sawicki said. "I wear Canada on my sleeve pretty proudly so I'm really excited because of that."
The 2014 Paralympics will take place from March 7-16 and will feature five sports: para-alpine skiing (including para-snowboard), biathlon, para-nordic skiing, sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
"We are so fortunate to have a chef de mission of the calibre of Ozzie Sawicki," said CPC president David Legg. "Ozzie is hugely qualified for this role, given his 25 years of experience in sport and industry.
"His knowledge of the Paralympic community at all levels and his understanding of what is involved in building a successful Paralympic team will be great assets to Team Canada as they prepare to take on the world in Sochi."
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