#19: Diane Hrychuk

Written by Dr. Bob Steadward

Diane Hrychuk (née Pidskalny) was born and raised in Ethelbert, Manitoba, and now lives on a farm in Fork River with her husband, Alex. The two of them have one son, A.J., born in 1985.

Diane joined Sport Manitoba, Parkland Sports Council in January 1992, serving as Treasurer. She was also on the Games, Promotions, Volunteer Development, and Sport-Development Committees, acting as Vice-Chair and Chair. She was a member of the Manitoba Games Council for nearly eight years, and also chaired the Manitoba Regional Sport Association Council (MRSAC).

From 1968 until 1998, Diane competed in wheelchair sports. She first played wheelchair basketball for Canada in Jamaica at the 1971 Pan American Games. In 1976, she participated in the Torontolympiad as an amputee and shared a world record in javelin. Her final time wearing the red and white at an international competition was at the Stoke Mandeville World Games in England in 1991, where the women’s team won the gold medal.

Her shoulders paid a big price for her love of wheelchair sports. She participated in discus, shot putt, javelin, volleyball, table tennis, track, and of course, her first love: basketball. In 1992 while at a training camp in Edmonton for the Barcelona Paralympics, she flipped out of her chair and severely damaged the tendons in her left shoulder. Unfortunately this ended her Paralympic career. However, following her accident, she played for the Manitoba provincial team, and was part of an effort to finally have a Manitoba Women’s Team. Diane officially retired from wheelchair sports in 1998.

Through her career, Diane won a total of 113 medals – 62 of which are gold and 21 of which were won at International Competitions. In 1988, Diane was inducted into the Ukrainian Hall of Fame at the Dauphin National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Manitoba. Nine years later, in May of 1997, she was inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame.

For over 30 years she had been blessed with the privilege and opportunity to represent her family, hometown, her province, and her country at the Pan American Games, Paralympics, World Cup, and many other international tournaments in Jamaica, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, South Korea, France, Holland, England, the United States, and all over Canada.

In 2004, Diane started wheelchair curling, a relatively new sport in Manitoba, and had only been in Canada for a few years at that point. Today, she settles to just watch curling.

Diane enjoys fishing, hunting, and camping with her family. She is a member of the Manitoba Women’s Institute, Fork River Chapter, and a past member of the Winnipegosis Elementary Parent Advisory Council. She did Pastoral Care at the local hospital and personal care home, and was a member of the Eastern District Health Advisory Committee. She was a 4-H Leader for five years, and served as a school trustee for Mountain View School Division for over 13 years. In addition, she served as a Community Magistrate for three years, and is a member of the Fork River Hall. Her son did Ukrainian dance for 13 years, and she volunteered during that time.

Diane was the Women’s Commissioner for the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League – Women’s Division – for four years and served as Vice President, Athlete Representative on the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association Board of Directors. She loved the opportunity to stay involved in a sport that is still her first passion, and continues to bring great meaning to her life, blessing her with many lifelong friends. She served on the CWSA board for 10 years, retiring in 2008 after 40 years of a glorious career.

Diane Hrychuk representing Canada in Wheelchair Basketball at the
1988 Summer Paralympics in Seoul, South Korea