“Fast” Frank Mazza is a Gold Medal Olympian and a Gold, Silver and Bronze Paralympic World Games medalist. He started racing in 1982 and represented Canada internationally from 1983 through 1986.
Frank Mazza was born in Peterborough on April 7, 1958, to his loving parents, Frank and Maria. He was born with Cerebral Palsy (C.P.) which affected his body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone-reflex, posture and balance. It also had an impact on his fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. Cerebral Palsy’s effect on functional abilities varies greatly. Many affected people can walk but others, like Frank, need to use wheelchairs. In the early 1980s Frank started wheelchair racing.
Frank’s C.P. affected both of his legs and his right arm. He used his left arm only to propel his wheelchair while his competitors used both arms. He competed in the Eastern Ontario C.P. games as well as the Ontario C.P. games and won many of the events he participated in. These successes led to greater athletic opportunities. A two year training program was designed by Team Canada for him and he was able to acquire a racing wheelchair. Frank’s goal was to compete at the 1984 Olympics for the Physically Disabled, which were called the “International Games for the Disabled” and were the equivalent of today’s Paralympics.
He surpassed this goal. At the 1984 Ontario Provincial Games, Frank won the 60 metre sprint, the 100 metre sprint and the 400 metre sprint. That same year, he was a gold medal winner for Canada in the 4 X 100 metre relay at the International Games for the Disabled. In 1986, Frank took part in the International Cerebral Palsy Games, in Belgium, where he won gold in the 4 X 100 metre relay, silver in the 400 metre sprint and bronze in the 100 metre sprint. Unfortunately, Frank’s racing career was cut short by a cancer diagnosis in 1986. Although he beat the disease, he was unable to compete again. Frank Mazza was inducted into the Ontario Cerebral Palsy Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.