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8,000 Sochi 2014 volunteers ready to go

Those volunteering at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics have undergone extensive training and have previous experience working para-sport events.

Sochi 2014 Volunteers will be essential to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, which run from 7-16 March. © • Sochi 2014
By Sochi 2014

In the remaining time before the Paralympics begin, a total of 70 "My Venue" training programmes await the volunteers, which includes added content on the specific Paralympic requirements.

More than 8,000 volunteers are ready for Russia’s first ever Paralympic Winter Games. Around 7,000 of the volunteers originate from hundreds of Russian cities, with 400 travelling from 60 countries around the world to volunteer in Sochi. The team includes many volunteers with an impairment who will be working at the Games.

The volunteer team is young and energetic, with an average age of only 25. Many of them have received dedicated training on best practice to support Paralympic athletes and will be a very important part the team to ensure the athletes enjoy the best Games possible.

The planning for the Games has created conditions to ensure the volunteers enjoy a comfortable stay in Sochi. For the first time in Paralympic history, they will be provided with accommodation and three meals a day to help give them all the energy they need for the day.

Over 6,000 volunteers for the Paralympic Winter Games have already arrived in Sochi. They are staying in three volunteer villages, receiving accreditation and Bosco Paralympic uniforms, studying the venues where they will work and preparing to warmly greet the Paralympic athletes and guests.

In the volunteer villages in the Coastal and Mountain Clusters, tents, stages, sound, lighting and video equipment have been set up to provide entertainment for volunteers in their spare time, with performances from a cultural and entertainment programme.

In the remaining time before the Paralympics begin, a total of 70 "My Venue" training programmes await the volunteers, which includes added content on the specific Paralympic requirements.

The entire group of volunteers coming to the Paralympic Winter Games have already benefitted from an extensive experience in best practice to support people with an impairment. The volunteers underwent training in two volunteer centres at Sholokhov Moscow State University and the Russian State Social University (Moscow). They have already taken part in a whole series of dedicated events for people with an impairment, and also worked at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and Paralympic Test Events in 2013.

The majority of the volunteers at the Paralympic Winter Games will be involved in areas such as event services (1,824 people), sport (800 people), NPC services (347 people), accreditation (457 people), arrivals and departures (115 people) and language services (162 people).

Germany: 7 facts on the Sochi 2014 Paralympics

Germany (including East and West previously) has won 439 medals at the Paralympic Winter Games more than any other country

Gerd Schoenfelder of Germany competes in the Men's Super G Gerd Schoenfelder of Germany competes in the Men's Super G © •

- Since the re-unification of Germany, no NPC has won more medals than re-unified Germany (221 - made up of 89 gold medals, 66 silver and 66 bronze medals) at the Paralympic Winter Games, from 1992 onward. USA is next on 190 medals in this period

- Germany has won its medals in three sports; alpine skiing (110), cross-country skiing (71) and biathlon (40). Norway (five sports), Austria (four) and USA (four) have all won their medals in more sports

- Gerd Schönfelder has won 16 gold medals and 22 in total at the Paralympic Winter Games, the second most, both in number of gold and number of total medals, after Norway's Ragnhild Myklebust (22 gold - 27 total).

- Schönfelder's 22 medals won in alpine skiing are the most for any athlete in a single sport at the Paralympic Winter Games

- Nordic skier Vereana Bentele won all five events she participated in, in cross-country skiing and biathlon, at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Her five gold medals were a joint record most in 2010, equal to Canada's Lauren Woolstencroft

- Verena Bentele is the most successful female athlete ever in biathlon winning six medals, including five golds.


Alpine skiing

Anna-Lena FORSTER, Facebook

Franz HANFSTINGL, Facebook


Thomas NOLTE

Andrea ROTHFUSS, Facebook




Nordic skiing

Andrea ESKAU


Martin FLEIG, Facebook


Vivian HOSCH

Wilhelm BREM

Top 14 dual-sport athletes at Sochi 2014

Find out which 14 Sochi 2014 athletes have also competed on the international stage in summer sports.

Tatyana McFadden Nordic After completing a marathon Grand Slam in 2013, the USA's Tatyana McFadden has achieved top-10 finishes at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in the 2013-14 season. © • Luc Percival

As one of the world’s most famous summer Paralympians, Tatyana McFadden, a Russian adoptee has 10 Paralympic medals and 11 world titles to her name on the track.

Joanny Badenhorst, Australia (snowboard, athletics)

After just missing out on qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympic Games in athletics, she was approached by the Australian Paralympic Committee to try out for snowboard, for which she ended up qualifying for Sochi 2014.

Monica Bascio, USA (Nordic skiing, cycling)

She was named the US Olympic Committee’s Sportswoman of the Year for 2012-13 after winning two silver medals in handcycling at the London 2012 Paralympics. Sochi 2014 will be her third Winter Games, as she gets set to compete in cross-country skiing and biathlon in the women’s sitting class.

Brad Bowden, Canada (ice sledge hockey, wheelchair basketball)

Bowden has won Paralympic golds in both of his sports, taking the wheelchair basketball title at the Athens 2004 Games and the ice sledge hockey title at the Torino 2006 Games. He enters Sochi 2014 as one of the most powerful forwards on the ice for the reigning world champions.

Andrea Eskau, Germany (Nordic skiing, cycling)

Sochi 2014 will mark Eskau’s fourth overall Paralympics. She won a handcycling road race gold at Beijing 2008 and then another pair of titles in the time trial and road race at London 2012. She holds a silver medal from the cross-country skiing 5km sitting race at Vancouver 2010 and will look to add to her winter achievements in Sochi.

Jessica Gallagher, Australia (alpine skiing, athletics)

Australia’s visually impaired star reached the Paralympic podium at Vancouver 2010, picking up bronze in the women’s slalom. She competed in the javelin and long jump T13 events at London 2012, but failed to medal. The year prior, at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, she won silver and bronze in those events, respectively.

Allison Jones, USA (alpine skiing, para-cycling)

Since 2002, she has participated in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. On the slopes in the women’s standing class, she won two silvers at the Salt Lake City 2002 Games and a gold at Torino 2006 before missing out on the podium at Vancouver 2010. At London 2012, she picked up two silvers and a gold in para-cycling.

Jalle Jungnell, Sweden (wheelchair curling, wheelchair basketball)

Before taking up wheelchair curling, Jungnell represented his country in wheelchair basketball at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul. Meanwhile, on the ice, he has helped Sweden win back-to-back bronze medals at the last two Winter Games.

Mariann Marthinsen, Norway (Nordic skiing, swimming)

She has been a swimmer since 2003, but took up skiing after the Beijing 2008 Games after deciding she wanted to try a winter sport. Her biggest achievements include a bronze-medal finish in the 100m backstroke S8 at Beijing 2008 and two fifth-place finishes in the women’s cross-country skiing sitting events at Vancouver 2010.

Oksana Masters, USA (Nordic skiing, rowing)

Masters had both of her legs removed as a child as a result of the effects of growing up near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. She began rowing at age 13, and together with Rob Jones won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics. Following that, she switched over to the snow, where she now hopes to medal at the Winter Games.

Tatyana McFadden, USA (Nordic skiing, athletics)

As one of the world’s most famous summer Paralympians, the Russian adoptee has 10 Paralympic medals and 11 world titles to her name on the track. She also became the first wheelchair racer to complete a marathon Grand Slam in 2013. Now, like Masters, she hopes to transfer her skills to the Nordic skiing trails.

Alana Nichols, USA (alpine skiing, wheelchair basketball)

The American comes into Sochi 2014 with one of the strongest profiles in the media, having competed in two Paralympics in wheelchair basketball and one in alpine skiing. She was the first female Paralympian from the USA to win gold at both a summer and winter Games, taking titles at Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010.

Stefan Olsson, Sweden (ice sledge hockey, wheelchair tennis)

Olsson, a silver medallist in wheelchair tennis from Beijing 2008 and a London 2012 Paralympian, has recently made the transition to the ice, where he hopes to help the eighth-seeded Swedish team defeat the odds and win a medal.

Aaron Pike, USA (Nordic skiing, athletics)

After just making the switch from athletics to Nordic skiing last year, Pike will head to Sochi in search of his first Paralympic medal. He represented the USA at the London 2012 Paralympics, but did not reach the podium.

Robbi Weldon, Canada (Nordic skiing, para-cycling)

Weldon is a Paralympic champion in para-cycling, as she picked up a gold in her road race at London 2012. At the Vancouver 2010 Games, her best finish in Nordic skiing was fourth place in the relay open. She will look to reach the podium for the first time at a Winter Games in Sochi.

Derek Whitson, Canada (ice sledge hockey, football 7-a-side)

Whitson, a world champion in ice sledge hockey, was part of Canada’s team that finished fourth in the sport at Vancouver 2010. In addition to being a defenceman on the ice, he is hoping to one day represent his country at the Paralympics in football 7-a-side, another sport he competes internationally in. However, he does have a sport preference. “Hockey in a heartbeat,” Whitson said. “It’s in my blood. It’s who I am.”

IPC announces its Sochi 2014 Paralympic torchbearers

Thirty-four people will represent the Paralympic Movement’s global governing body in the Paralympic Torch Relay.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay - Day 1 On 1 March, the first ever international leg of a Paralympic Torch Relay took place in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, in recognition of the town as the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. © • Sochi 2014

The Relay will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 March.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced the names of 34 torchbearers who will represent the Paralympic Movement’s global governing body in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Torch Relay on 6 and 7 March. The names include IPC President Sir Philip Craven and Wilfried Lemke, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace.

The 10-day long Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay started on 26 February and, by the time of the Opening Ceremony, will have passed through 46 cities in each different Russian region and involved 1,500 torchbearers.

On 5 March, the eighth day of the relay, the Paralympic Flame will be created at a special uniting ceremony before the Torch Relay embarks on a final 48 hours around the host city.

Representing the IPC Governing Board in the Torch Relay will be President Sir Philip Craven, Vice President Andrew Parsons and Members at Large Duane Kale, Patrick Jarvis, Kyung-Won Na, John Petersson and Chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council Todd Nicholson.

IPC Life President Bob Steadward will also be involved as will the UN’s Wilfried Lemke.

Future Paralympic Games organising committees will also be represented in the relay by:

• Rio 2016 - Mariana Viera de Mello, Head of Paralympic Integration

• PyeongChang 2018 – Vo Ra Mi Seo, South Korean cross-country skier who will be competing in Sochi

• PyeongChang 2018 – Hak Sung Kim, skip of the Korean silver medal winning wheelchair curling team at the 2008 World Championships and 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

• Tokyo 2020 – Mami Sato, Japanese Paralympian who was part of Tokyo 2020’s bid presentation team last September in Buenos Aires.

Hak Sung Kim, the skip of Korea’s Paralympic silver medal wheelchair curling team from Vancouver, said: “It is a great honour to participate in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay on behalf of PyeongChang, host city of the next edition of the Paralympic Winter Games.

In addition, I'm really pleased that this participation gives me the opportunity to represent the pride of people with an impairment in the Republic of Korea, and also gives inspiration for the successful hosting of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

Vo Ra Mi Seo said: “PyeongChang is the region which has really special meaning for me because it is my father’s hometown. I'm so happy and honoured to participate in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay on behalf of PyeongChang.

“I have been through a really tough time after I had an unexpected accident in 2004 and became bound to a wheelchair, but fortunately I set a goal to win the gold medal in the Paralympics as a cross-country skier.

“Since then, I have tried really hard to realise my dream. I will strive to give hope to disabled people by participating not only Sochi 2014 Paralympics but also PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.”

Mami Sato said: “I am delighted and extremely humbled to have been selected to represent Tokyo 2020 as a Paralympic torchbearer. It is my earnest wish that my participation will further raise the profile of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in Japan and contribute to the development of the Paralympic Movement in Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

“I sincerely hope that the athletes will perform to the peak of their abilities in Sochi and amply display the Paralympic values of determination, courage, equality and inspiration to audiences around the world.”

Four officials, one representing each of the Paralympic winter sports, will also be involved in the relay. They are:

• Nick Dean - Vice Chairperson of the IPC Alpine Skiing Sport Technical Committee

• Hans Peter Neeser – IPC Nordic Skiing Head of Technical Control and Officiating

• Michael Peterson – IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Head of Classification

• Kate Caithness – President, World Curling Federation

On 1 March, the first ever international leg of a Paralympic Torch Relay took place in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, in recognition of the town as the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. For all future editions of the Games, Stoke Mandeville and Great Britain will host a leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay and as a result they will be represented in Sochi by four torchbearers, led by British Paralympic Association President Tim Reddish.

The final IPC places in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay have been awarded to IPC Worldwide Paralympic and International Partners, as well as supporters of the Agitos Foundation, including IPC Honorary Board member Hassan Ali Bin Ali.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic torch was developed by a team of famous Russian designers and engineers. The torch weighs about 1.8 kg and has a length of 95 cm, is blue and has a base that is light "metallic" silver. The concept of the urban Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Cauldron resonates with the concept of the torch and is implemented in an identical style. The height and width of the cauldrons are 130cm and 60cm, respectively. The foundation is 110cm. These cauldrons will be installed in all the cities along the route of the Sochi 2014 Relay.

The Relay will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 March.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay travels the Urals

Four cities in the Urals took the Paralympic Flame through their communities on Friday (1 March).

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay is currently travelling throughout several districts of Russia. © • Sochi 2014
By Sochi 2014

Four cities in the Urals took the Paralympic Flame through their communities on Friday (1 March).

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay took place in the cities of the Urals Federal District on Friday (1 March.)

The Paralympic Flame was lit and handed to the torchbearers in four cities in the Urals: Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Khanty-Mansiysk and Noyabrsk. Sochi 2014 Relay torchbearers included nominees of Presenting Partners: the Coca-Cola Company, OSAO "Ingosstrakh," OAO "Russian Railways" and "VOLKSWAGEN Group Rus."

The Yekaterinburg urban stage of the Sochi 2014 Relay was attended by 102 torchbearers. The flame of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics was lit during a colourful firework display, after which the Relay was started by the first torchbearer in the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Region – Paralympic champion Artem Zinovyev.

He was joined by Gennady Dvornikov, World Deaflympics champion, and world record holder in the 5,000m; two-time Paralympic champion Alevtina Elesina and European champion Olesya Krasnomovets The procession in Yekaterinburg was completed by Sergei Zashikhin, president of the regional curling federation. Watched by tens of thousands of spectators, he lit the city cauldron.

In Tyumen, the flame of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics was lit during the theatrical presentation based on the fairy tale The Little Humpbacked Horse, and the spark was obtained from a feather of the magical Firebird. Torchbearers in the Tyumen Region consisted of 30 people, including Paralympian, para-sport organiser Andrey Tolstoy, members of the Tyumen regional sports federations for the blind and Russian and Tyumen regional medallist Stanislav Zaytsev and Aleksandr Zavyalov, as well as master of sports in track athletics (deaf sports) Daniil Bagan. The vibrant completion of the urban stage was the lighting of the cauldron by the final torchbearer, Andrey Berdyugin.

In Khanty-Mansiysk, the main participants of the Paralympic Torch procession through the city included 15 torchbearers. Among them were multiple winners of international competitions Anton Mikhaylov, Denis Maksimenko and Mikhail Slinkin. Torchbearers passed through the main streets of the capital of Ugra and reached the main sports venue of the district, the Aleksandr Filipenko Winter Sports Centre. There, the final torchbearer, Honored Master of Sports, champion and silver medalist of the Deaflympics, silver medalist of Europe and the world Pavel Fatin lit the city cauldron.

In Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay was held on the streets of the city of Noyabrsk. The spark from the lighting of the first torch was received during a theatrical production, in which Shamans lit the Flame from a bonfire in front of the stage. The flame of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics in Noyabrsk was transferred between 50 torchbearers. The honour of being the first torchbearer in Noyabrsk fell to athlete Olga Kazankevich. The final torchbearer was London 2012 Paralympian Karen Abramyants. The culmination of the celebration was the lighting of the cauldron.

After extinguishing the cauldrons in each of the four cities of the Urals Federal District, the transfer ceremony to Sochi took place, during which the host city of the Paralympic Games was passed the symbolic flame, where in Sochi on March 5, the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony will take place at the main cauldron in the Olympic Park.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay will be the most innovative and unusual in the history of the Paralympic Games. Each day, the Paralympic Flame will be lit simultaneously in several cities of one of the Russian federal districts. The method of lighting the Flame will change in each region and be a surprise, since each torch Lighting Ceremony will be unique: from the sun's rays, from a hammer and anvil, from a Russian stove, and even from a spark of a volcano. The urban stage will feature a unique process of lighting the Paralympic Flame.

The Relay will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 March.

First ever Heritage Flame lit at Stoke Mandeville in a historic moment for Paralympic Movement

Birthplace of the Paralympic Movement hosted an international leg of the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay on Saturday.

Hannah Cockroft Stoke Mandeville Hannah Cockroft creating the Heritage Flame at Stoke Mandeville in March 2014. © • Getty Images
By British Paralympic Association

“Through their sporting excellence, Paralympians are helping to fulfil an aim Sir Ludwig Guttmann had back in 1948, an aim to transform lives through sport.”

The inaugural Heritage Flame was lit at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury, Great Britain on Saturday evening as part of the celebrations in the build-up to Sochi 2014, which is the very first time there has been an international leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay.

In a ceremony that will now take place before every future summer and winter Paralympic Games, the event celebrated the history of the Paralympic Games and Buckinghamshire's position as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement.

The ceremony, which was directed by Bradley Hemmings who was Co-Artistic Director of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony and is also Director of Greenwich + Docklands Festivals, one of the UK's leading outdoor arts organisations, started with a film celebrating the Heritage Flame, written and directed by Mike Christie who directed several of the films from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Entitled "I am the Flame", and narrated by legendary actor Sir Ian McKellen with music by Dan Jones, the film emotionally expressed the vision of the Paralympic Heritage Flame.

After this, the Paralympic Anthem was played prior to Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, providing the first speech of the ceremony.

He said: “When the Paralympics returned home in 2012, they were the best ever - a fitting tribute to Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the brainchild behind the Paralympic Games and the man who wrote the first chapter in the illustrious history of the Paralympic Movement.

“Tonight, six days before the start of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, we start to write another chapter, a chapter that will ensure that for all future Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville and Great Britain is recognised globally as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement.

“From now on, and for all future Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville will always stage one leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay celebrating the past, present and future of the Paralympic Movement in this country.”

He added: “Through their sporting excellence, Paralympians are helping to fulfil an aim Sir Ludwig Guttmann had back in 1948, an aim to transform lives through sport.”

Sir Philip was followed on to stage by Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee who had flown in specially to support the event.

Chernyshenko addressed the audience saying: “It is the greatest honour to be here in the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. Paralympic sport has the unique power to inspire and excite the world.

“This Paralympic flame has already ignited inspiration and excitement in nine time zones, from Russia’s Far East, through Siberia and the Urals, to the North West of the country. The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay is touching hearts and minds in every corner of Russia ready for the greatest ever celebration of Paralympic winter sport.”

After the speeches, a specially commissioned animated film by Stoke Mandeville Artist in Residence Rachel Gadsden and filmmaker Abigail Norris entitled "Hephaestus" was played to the 400-strong audience, which introduced the background and concept of the Armillary Sphere.

A magnificent and iconic Armillary Sphere - a model of stars and planets in the sky which is over six metres tall and six metres in diameter, was then used to light the flame.

Designed by internationally acclaimed theatre designer Jon Bausor, it will be used for future Heritage Flame events. It is imagined as a constellation in the night sky celebrating the Paralympic Games, with the creation of the spark of the Paralympic Heritage flame itself arising from the human endeavour of a central wheelchair user, in this case, London 2012 gold medallist Hannah Cockroft.

Once the Armillary Sphere was lit, it was time to light the Paralympic Torch and Cauldron. This honour was bestowed on Caz Walton OBE, representing the heritage of Stoke Mandeville. Walton competed in her first Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. She went on to compete in eight Paralympic Games and still works in the movement for both British Disability Fencing Association and the British Paralympic Association.

After the Flame was lit, Andy Barlow representing future Paralympians transferred the Heritage Paralympic Flame to Sochi, whilst Denise Knibbs, representing Buckinghamshire's communities, lit the UK Paralympic lantern.

Speaking of her role in the ceremony, Hannah Cockroft MBE said: “It has been a fantastic honour to represent of all the Paralympians that have competed for Great Britain and Northern Ireland this evening – and what an amazing way to do it!

“I’ve said before that the most fantastic moments of my life were winning gold medals for ParalympicsGB in 2012 but this is definitely up there with London 2012. I just can’t put into words how proud I am to have been involved in such an historic moment for the Paralympic Movement in this country.”

Prior to the main ceremony, there were pre-event speeches in the sports hall at Stoke Mandeville Stadium by Chair of the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board Carl Etholen and Chairman of the British Paralympic Association Tim Reddish OBE.

Tim Reddish OBE said: “The BPA is very proud that our nation is recognised as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement and we showed the world how passionate about Paralympic sport we are in the UK in 2012.

“We’re delighted therefore that we will play a part in all future Paralympic Torch Relays and tonight we will be witnessing history as the first Heritage Flame is lit. The moment the cauldron is lit is always very special for the athletes as it signifies the start of the Games that they have all worked so hard for. This time around, knowing that a part of it was created in the UK will make the ParalympicsGB athletes about to compete in Sochi especially proud.”

Chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council and Buckinghamshire Legacy Board Carl Etholen said: “It’s fitting that we honour the memory of the man who – just a couple of hundred yards from here – gave birth to what we now know as the Paralympic Movement . Dr Ludwig Guttmann – or Poppa, as he was affectionately known – who set up Great Britain’s first specialist unit for treating Spinal Injuries – here at Stoke Mandeville. We in Buckinghamshire are so proud that Poppa Guttmann’s small beginnings gave birth to the modern Paralympic Movement.

“Proud, too, that we’re able to host this historic flame lighting event in partnership with the International Paralympic Committee, the Sochi Games Organisers, and the British Paralympic Association. We hope this event will inspire future generations and honours the valuable legacy of Ludwig Guttman.”

In similar events to this evening’s ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, which was part-funded by Arts Council England, all eight Russian Federal districts will host Flame Festivals and will ignite sparks which symbolise the energy and support to the Paralympic Games and their athletes. All Flame Festival cities will feature a flame lighting ceremony, torch visits and a flame transfer to Sochi.

After Saturday evening’s event, the Heritage Flame from Stoke Mandeville will visit several landmarks in Buckinghamshire and London, heading to Sochi to merge with all other flames in a special ceremony on 5 March. This unification of the flames will create the official Paralympic Flame of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games which will be used in a final relay before the Opening Ceremony on 7 March.

Sochi 2014 gets a new Paralympic look

The Agitos, the Paralympic Symbol is being installed at various venues in Sochi ahead of the Winter Paralympics.

An Agitos installed within the Sochi 2014 Olympic Park The Agitos, the symbol of the Paralympic Movement, sits inside the Olympic Park during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. © • Sochi 2014
By Sochi 2014

As Sochi prepares to host Russia’s first ever Paralympic Winter Games, the Agitos the symbol of the Paralympic Movement is being placed on all sport venues where Paralympic competitions will take place.

The Agitos will decorate the Shayba Arena, Ice Cube Curling Centre, Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, Laura Cross-country Ski and Biathlon Centre.

The Fisht Olympic Stadium that is hosting the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies will also get a new Paralympic look.

In Sochi, Adler and Krasnaya Polyana the Paralympic mascots – Ray of Light and Snowflake – will greet the guests. The Paralympic marks will also decorate the Main Media Centre in the Coastal Cluster, the Olympic Park, and Mountain and Coastal Paralympic Villages.

Paralympic Symbol

The Agitos - from the Latin “agito”, “I move” - consists of three hemispheres of red, blue and green colours arranged around a central point. The symbol reflects the role of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in bringing together Paralympic athletes whose achievements inspire and delight the world. The colours of the agitos, with the white background, stand for the three colors that feature the Mind, Body and Spirit.

The Agitos will be taking the place of the five Olympic rings at the international airport and the railway stations in Sochi and Adler, as well as on the promenade of the Mzymta River in the Mountain Cluster.

The Paralympic symbol will also appear under the ice of the Shayba Arena and the Ice Cube Curling Centre.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games’ mascots - Ray of Light and Snowflake - will greet visitors on Navaginskaya Street and Kirov Street, and on Romanov Bridge at the Rosa Khutor.

Unlike the Olympic Games, during which any advertising is prohibited at the Olympic venues, the Paralympic Games’ partners have the opportunity to place their billboards on the wall surrounding the rink and at some other places. A partner company logo can also appear under the ice of a sports arena.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Mascots

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Mascots - Ray of Light and Snowflake – will be taking the place of their Olympic friends: the Polar Bear, Hare and Leopard.

Ray of Light flew down to Earth from a planet where it was always hot. His journey was full of challenges. He found himself on a new and unknown planet where everything was different compared to his home: cold winters, snow and winds, and of course unknown people around him. Ray of Light looked very different from other people on Earth. He had amber skin, sparks in his wide eyes and look-like-flame hair. But these differences were only in appearances. Ray of Light was so nice and kind to everyone, and he was always ready to help. Very soon, people understood that it was just their initial perceptions. The more they interacted, the more they discovered that they and Ray of Light had very much in common.

People taught him alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and biathlon. And then everybody understood that Ray of Light had unique abilities, and Ray of Light became a true favorite all over the place.

Although he had good friends around him Ray of Light still felt a bit lonely because there were no other people who had come from the stars like him. That’s why he stared up into the sky so often and sighed...

One day he saw a falling star in the night sky. It was Snowflake who also flew down to Earth from another planet - covered with ice. She had snow-white skin and looked like a snow crystal. Ray of Light and Snowflake were very different in appearances but other people thought they had very much in common.

Ray of Light introduced Snowflake to his friends on Earth and told her about different sports. Snowflake also started to practice alpine skiing. Together they invented new sports – wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey. People admired their incredible achievements and loved these new sports too. They tried to repeat the technique of Ray of Light and Snowflake and everybody wanted to be like them.

Ray of Light and Snowflake decided to stay on Earth and use their fantastic abilities not only in sports but also in other areas to help their friends to learn to discover their own wonderful skills.

Ray of Light and Snowflake had to overcome many difficulties before they found their place on an unknown planet. But their passion for sports helped them to understand that they are not different from the others, and that thanks to their sporting abilities they are have very much in common with their good friends.

Ray of Light and Snowflake reflect the contrast and the harmony. Together they have power to make everything possible and make all people on Earth to believe in it.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Villages ready to welcome athletes

Villages opened their doors on Saturday to welcome 575 athletes and further 1,000 support staff.

The coastal cluster Paralympic village wit flags in front of the buildings The Sochi Paralympic Village opened on 1 March © • IPC
By Sochi 2014

The Coastal and Mountain Paralympic Villages opened their doors on Saturday (1 March) to the athletes and delegation representatives of the countries participating in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

At the Paralympic Winter Games from 7-16 March, two Paralympic villages will be operating in the immediate vicinity of the competition venues. During the Games they will accommodate 45 delegations of National Paralympic Committees – about 1,600 athletes and delegation members. Over 2,000 paid staff members and Sochi 2014 volunteers will ensure the vital operation of both villages during the Games.

Both Coastal and Mountain Paralympic Villages are fully accessible and include ramps, automatic doors in addition to voice activation in elevators.


The mayor of the Coastal Paralympic Village is two-time Paralympic Games champion and world record holder in swimming Olesya Vladykina, while the deputy mayor is Beijing 2008 Paralympian in table tennis Sergey Poddubny. Another Coastal Village host is the smiling Ray of Light, mascot of the Paralympic Games.

Usadba Paralympic Village in the Coastal Cluster is designed for 350 athletes and delegation members of the countries participating in the Paralympic Games. The village is located in close proximity to the Coastal Cluster venues, therefore an athlete’s trip to training and competition venues takes no more than 10 minutes. Athletes participating in ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling competitions will reside in Usadba.


The Mayor of the Mountain Paralympic Village is Sergey Shilov, six-time Paralympic champion, seven-time world champion, and four-time European champion in skiing. The Deputy Mayor of the Mountain Village is Aleksey Ashapatov, champion and record holder at the Paralympic Games in Beijing and London, world and European champion in athletics. At the entrance, visitors and residents to the Village will meet one of the "hosts", the mascot of the Paralympic Games, the friendly Snowflake.

The Paralympic Village in the Mountain Cluster will receive 700 guests during Games time, including members of delegations of the participating countries and athletes competing in cross-country skiing, biathlon and alpine skiing. The Mountain Village is located in the immediate vicinity of the ski centre and snowboard park at an altitude of 1,100 m. Athletes will be staying in comfortable hotel rooms, apartment hotels and chalets built in alpine style. The distance to the competition venues of the mountain cluster is about 10 km. Transportation will be available 24/7 within the village and from the village to competition venues. In addition, athletes and delegation members will be able to take advantage of two Rosa Khutor cable car stations, which are located within walking distance of the Mountain Village.

During the Paralympic Games, the Village will introduce guests to the genuine Russian tradition of hospitality, where crafts, needlework, national signs and legends are passed from hand to hand and mouth to mouth. Various games and entertainment, arts and crafts and traditional food will demonstrate the unique mentality of the Russian people.

In addition to the Coastal and Mountain Villages, athletes competing in biathlon and cross-country skiing can stay in Nordic Ski Housing at the Psekhako Ridge, close to the venue.

New World Anti-Doping Code available for download

Code will be effective from 1 January 2015 and was unanimously approved by WADA Foundation Board.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) © •

The revised World Anti-Doping Code (Code), unanimously approved by the WADA Foundation Board on November 15, 2013, and effective as of 1 January 2015, is now available for downloading and printing here.

The revised Code is based on an extensive review and consultation with all stakeholders and takes into account the experience that WADA and stakeholders have had since the initial implementation of the Code in 2004. The result is a stronger Code that is both firm and fair that serves as an effective and practical tool in the fight against doping in sport.

Canada: 8 facts on the Sochi 2014 Paralympics

Canada is ranked ninth in the all-time Paralympic Winter Games medal table with 119 total medals, made up of 36 gold, 41 silver and 42 bronze

Lauren Woolstencroft Lauren Woolstencroft (CAN) competes in the Women's Standing Downhill at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games © • Getty Images

• Of the 119 medals Canada has won, 91 of them - 21 gold, 35 silver and 35 bronze – have come in alpine skiing events

• Since wheelchair curling was introduced into the Winter Paralympics in 2006, Canada is the only nation to have won gold and Sonja Gaudet was involved in both teams

• Canada has also won medals in cross-country skiing (22), ice sledge hockey (3), and biathlon (1)

• The nation has won 18 gold medals in women's events and 16 in men's events, with two more gold medals in mixed wheelchair curling

• Four years ago in Vancouver, Canada enjoyed its best ever Winter Paralympics winning 19 medals, including 10 golds

• Alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft won five of Canada’s 10 golds in 2010. She became the first athlete to win five gold medals in alpine skiing in a single edition of the Paralympic Winter Games

• Having won 10 Paralympic Winter Games medals already (seven gold, two silver and one bronze), Brian McKeever could become Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian in Sochi. Lauren Woolstencroft has won the most golds (eight) whilst Lana Spreeman has won 13 medals in total.

• You can follow Canadian Paralympic team on Facebook and on Twitter @CDNParalympics


Alpine skiing

Caleb BROUSSEAU, Twitter: @CalebBrousseau

Josh DUECK, Facebook, Twitter: @justdueck

Matt HALLAT, Twitter: @matthallat

Kimberly JOINES, Twitter: @9LivesJoines


Braydon LUSCOMBE, Twitter: @OneLeggedHustla

Mac MARCOUX, Twitter: @MarcouxBros

Kurt OATWAY, Twitter: @Koatway

Alana Colette RAMSAY

Kirk SCHORNSTEIN, Twitter: @KirkSchornstein

Alexandra STARKER, Twitter: @AlexStarker



Ian LOCKEY, Twitter: @adaptiverider


Tyler MOSHER, Twitter: @Mosherinspired, Facebook

Michelle SALT

Nordic skiing

Mark ARENDZ, Twitter: @markarendz

Caroline Juliette BISSON, Twitter: @caro_bisson



Sebastien FORTIER

Louis FORTIN, Facebook

Margarita GOURBOUNOVA, Twitter: @Mgorbounova

Brittany HUDAK

Chris KLEBL, Twitter: @chrisklebl

Brian MCKEEVER, Twitter: @brianmckeever

Robbi WELDON, Twitter: @thundercycle12, Facebook

Ice sledge hockey

Adam DIXON, Twitter: @11Dixons


Brad BOWDEN, Twitter: @Bow27, Facebook

Billy BRIDGES, Twitter: @BillyBridges18, Facebook

Benjamin Thomas John DELANEY


Anthony GALE, Twitter: @Anthony_Gale9

James GEMMELL, Twitter: @Gemms25_CAN, Facebook


Karl LUDWIG, Twitter: @K_Ludwig

Tyler MCGREGOR. Twitter: @tgregs8

Graeme MURRAY, Twitter: @G_Murray_29

Kevin REMPEL, Twitter: @KevinRempel, Facebook

Benoit ST-AMAND, Twitter: @BenoitStAmand, Facebook


Greg WESTLAKE, Twitter: @gwestlake12, Facebook (Sledge Hockey Canada)

Derek WHITSON, Twitter: @whitz_04

Wheelchair curling



Sonia GAUDET, Facebook

Mark Allen IDESON, Twitter: @MarkIdeson

Dennis John THIESSEN, Twitter: @thiessen_dennis