Ron Finneran was a founding member of the organisation now known as Disabled Wintersport Australia.
It is due to Ron’s efforts over the last thirty years that we still exist today. His passion, determination and willpower to forge an avenue for Adaptive snow sports in Australia is legendary.
Even today, although now officially retired from DWA, he still remains our figure head and role model for future generations.
Ron Finneran has been disabled with Spina Bifida after contracting polio aged 18 months. He took up skiing in 1972 after a visit to the Thredbo Ski Resort and trained in the United States and Canada.
He unofficially competed at the 1976 Winter Paralympics in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. He was not an official entrant as they were no events for his disability.
He remained in Sweden after the Games until 1978 to study and train. At the 1984 World Championships in Switzerland he came 4th in the downhill.
In 1978, with Canadian ski instructor Bruce Able, he formed the Australian Disabled Skiing Federation now Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA)
He retired as Executive Director of DWA 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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1989, he was a member of a working group that helped to establish the Australian Paralympic Federation in 1990. He was a Board Member of the Federation from 1990 to 1995. He was also president of the Australian Paralympic Federation in 1993. In 1993, he was Chairman of the Bid Committee for the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games.
Besides his participation at the 1976 Winter Paralympics, he was Chef de Mission/ Team Manager, of the Australian team for the 1980 Winter Paralympics, Team Captain for the Games in 1994 Winter Paralympics and Australian Team Manager for the 1992 and 1994 Games.
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).
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."