Ron Finneran

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Australian Paralympic athlete Ron Finneran at the 1984 Innsbruck Winter Games

Ronald James Finneran OAM[1] (born 1944)[2] is an Australian Paralympic athlete and sports administrator, from Merimbula, New South Wales.[3]

Skiing career[edit]

Finneran was born in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra. He lost the full use of both his legs and his right arm after contracting polio aged about 20 months.[2] He took up skiing in 1972 after a visit to the Thredbo Ski Resort and trained in the United States and Canada.[4][5] He was Australia's only participant at the 1976 Winter Paralympics in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, where he marched in the opening ceremony. However, he did not compete, as there were no events for his disability.[6] He remained in Sweden after the Games until 1978 to study and train.[4] At the 1984 World Championships in Switzerland he came 4th in the downhill.[5]

Sports administration[edit]

Two of the founders of Disabled Wintersport Australia, Ron Finneran (L) and Nick Dean (R) at a function on 3 September 2013 in Thredbo during the first IPC alpine skiing world cup event to be held in Australia, conducted by the Australian Paralympic Committee

In 1978, with Canadian ski instructor Bruce Abel and Australian ski instructor Nick Dean, he formed the Australian Disabled Skiers Federation, now Disabled Winter Sport Australia (DWSA).[5] He retired as Executive Director of DWSA in January 2010 after 31 years in the role. Whilst in the role of Executive Director, he was able transform disabled skiing in Australia particularly in terms of facilities, training programs, talent development and government support.[4] In 1992, Australian Disabled Skiing Federation opened its own ski lodge called Finsko's Lodge, the name of the lodge recognized Finneran's considerable work to its development.[4] He also played a major role in the establishment of the Jindabyne Winter Academy, a program designed to assist elite and talented able bodied and disabled alpine skiers.[4] The result of Finneran's worked culminated in 2001 with the Australian Institute of Sport establishing a Paralympic Alpine Skiing Program in conjunction with the Australian Paralympic Committee.[7]

In 1989, he was a member of a working group that helped to establish the Australian Paralympic Federation in January 1990.[4] He was a Board Member of the Federation from 1990 to 1995.[4] He was also president of the Australian Paralympic Federation in 1993.[8] In 1993, he was Chairman of the Bid Committee for the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games.[4]

Besides his participation at the 1976 Winter Paralympics, he was Chef de Mission/Team Manager, of the Australian team for the 1980 Winter Paralympics, Australian Team Captain for the 1994 Winter Paralympics and Australian Team Manager for the 1992 and 1994 Games.[4]

Other sports administration roles included: Member of the Advisory Committee to the Australian Bicentennial Authority's National Disabled Sports Program (1984 to 1988) and Chairman of the New South Wales Advisory Committee for Athletes with a Disability (1987 to 1992).[4]

After receiving his OAM in 2005, he stated "To have had just a small part in profiling the abilities of people with disabilities, be it in recreational activities to the very elite in Paralympic sport, has been an enormously rewarding experience."[3]



  1. ^ a b c "Ron Finneran". It's An Honour Website. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Fogarty, Mick. "Ron Finneran interviewed by Mick Fogarty in the Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project". National Library of Australia Website. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Ron Finneran's latest medal". Bega District News. 14 June 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Ron Finneran OAM – Administration – Disabled Wintersport". Sport Australia Hall of Fame Website. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Crusader for skiers leaders by example". Australian Apline News: 14–15. August 1991.
  6. ^ "Paralympic Games History – Winter". Australian Paralympic Committee Website. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Annual Report 2000/20021" (PDF). Australian Sports Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  8. ^ Horton, Luke (31 May 2011). "Adrienne's amazing Olympics bid effort". Macleay Argus.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Annual Report 2011/12" (PDF). Australian Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 25 January 2013.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Walsh, Scott (8 December 2016). "Dylan Alcott wins double at Australian Paralympic Awards". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 9 December 2016.

External links[edit]