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Media Release - Accomplished Coach And Sport Leader Ozzie Sawicki Named Canada's Chef De Mission For The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

OTTAWA, Jan. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee is pleased to announce that accomplished coach and sport leader Ozzie Sawicki has been named Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Sawicki, a resident of Cochrane, Alberta, will guide the Mission Staff that will lead Canada towards its goal of being in the top three nations in the gold medal count at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.

A key influencer and leader in Canadian and international sport, Sawicki has extensive experience working with both Paralympic athletes and able-bodied athletes in alpine skiing, including a role as Head Coach and Program Director of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team from 2000 to 2004; Head Coach of the Para-Athletics Program with Athletics Canada from 2009 to 2011; and most recently, Performance Advisor to the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Sawicki was also a Team Canada Mission Staff member and the Coaches of Canada representative at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and was an IPC/FIS official for Alpine Skiing for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games. In Salt Lake City in 2002, Sawicki was Para-Alpine Head Coach of the squad that won 12 medals of the total 15 earned by Team Canada at those Games.

"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," said Sawicki, who has previously been involved in four Paralympic Games. "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's unique perspective combines his experiences as a coach, Mission Staff member and high performance sport consultant in addition to extensive industry experience in resource, space and defence, spatial information systems, and aboriginal/First Nations sectors. In his industry involvement over the last 25 years, he has spent the past 13 years focused on project management and leadership roles both nationally and internationally and is the Principal at Pozitive Results Sport Strategies Inc. ( Canada), and a Principal of Amalgamate, LLC ( USA).

"We are so fortunate to have a Chef de Mission of the calibre of Ozzie Sawicki," said David Legg, President of the CPC. "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."

The Chef de Mission is a volunteer position responsible for providing leadership and vision to the 2014 Canadian Paralympic Team; acting as Team spokesperson; ensuring the responsibilities and duties of all team personnel are carried out; and building a team environment amongst the various members of Team Canada.

Sawicki's first public engagement as Chef de Mission will be the Sochi Performance Update/Government of Canada Funding Announcement in partnership with Own The Podium on Thursday, January 24 at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary at 10 a.m.

He will visit Sochi in March 2013 for the Chefs de Mission Seminar, oversee the selections of the key volunteer Mission Staff, and begin meeting regularly with athletes and coaches to review their needs and provide them the support and services they need to succeed.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games will take place from March 7 to 16 and will include five sports: para-alpine skiing (including para-snowboard), biathlon, para-Nordic skiing, sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.

Interviews may be arranged by contacting Alison Korn at akorn@paralympic.ca; Tel: 613-569-4333 ext. 243    /   Cell: 613-298-4927

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 46 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

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