Ottobock’s Technical Services Manager steps in to help with iconic Paralympic ceremony
On Friday 2 March, Ottobock Technical Services Manager Russell Pizzey took on an unusual and exciting new assignment; creating torch holders for the Paralympians Sophie Christiansen CBE and Ali Jawad.
The event was part of the build up to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, with Ali and Sophie attending as the official Torch Bearers. This year celebrated 70 years of growth of the Paralympic Games from its origins at the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 and last night’s ceremony was the third time Stoke Mandeville has hosted an inspiring event showcasing the Paralympic Heritage Flame.
Russell was contacted by the organisers of the event who were looking for somebody to make bespoke torch holders that could be attached to Sophie and Ali’s wheelchairs, providing a safe solution that would enable them to seamlessly move onto and around the stage whilst still holding the Paralympic torch. As an experienced technician with many years of Paralympics experience, Russell was delighted to support, and delivered the handmade torch holders just hours before the ceremony on Friday.
Russell has provided Technical Services at three World Para Athletics games, most recently at London in 2017. He was also a part of the Technical Service team at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 plus both the Invictus Games in London and Orlando. Russell has worked in the prosthetics industry for over 30 years, having started as an apprentice in 1979. With over 22 years’ experience with Ottobock, Russell is now Technical Services Manager with a variety of responsibilities including ensuring that Ottobock customers are provided with the best technical information possible.
For 30 years, Ottobock has been at the heart of the Paralympic Movement. Ottobock is the longest serving partner of the Paralympic Games and has been offering its technical service since the 1988 Games in Seoul. Athletes have been benefiting from the company’s experience at every Winter and Summer Games since. Similar to the services provided by mechanics in motor racing, Ottobock is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the athletes’ equipment and ensures that they can get back into the competition as quickly as possible. The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games will be the 15th time that Ottobock has provided Technical Services.