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Sir Philip hails Sochi 2014 as ‘spectacular showcase of sport’

IPC President has also picked out his favourite moments from the Games ahead of Sunday's Closing Ceremony.

Sir Philip Craven Sir Philip Craven the President of the International Paralympic Committee speaks to the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games © • Getty Images

“The Games have been absolutely mind blowing in terms of their impact, far beyond what the Paralympic Movement expected when coming here. They have been a spectacular showcase of sport and the power of the human spirit.

With one and half days to go of Sochi 2014, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has hailed the Paralympic Winter Games as a ‘spectacular showcase of sport’ and picked out his favourite moments from the Games so far.

So far 61 medal events have taken place in Sochi, with a further 11 to follow, including Saturday’s finals in wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey which both feature hosts Russia as gold medal contenders.

Sir Philip Craven said: “The Games have been absolutely mind blowing in terms of their impact, far beyond what the Paralympic Movement expected when coming here. They have been a spectacular showcase of sport and the power of the human spirit.

“Not only have the athletic performances been first class, but so has the organisation which has been seamless.

“To sell 316,200 tickets, 86,200 more than Vancouver 2010, not only shows what a great job the Organising Committee has done, but also shows the significant growth in popularity of the Paralympic Movement.

“As London did in 2012 raising the bar higher for Rio 2016, Sochi 2014 really has raised the bar for PyeongChang 2018.

“Rounding off these spectacular Games will be Sunday’s Closing Ceremony which will be an opportunity for the Paralympic Movement to say thank you to everyone involved in making these Games a terrific success.

“The plans sound absolutely fantastic and will be a fitting finale, not just for the Paralympics, but for seven years of tremendous work by the Organising Committee.

President’s highlights

Ahead of the Saturday’s team finals and the last day of competition, Sir Philip has picked out his highlights of the Games so far.

Alpine skiing

“The easy answer for me as a proud Brit would be to choose Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans winning Great Britain’s first ever alpine skiing gold in Monday’s super-G. The debut of para-snowboard was also a very special moment and I look forward to seeing the sport again in PyeongChang 2018.

“However, I’m not sure anything can beat seeing the emotion and sheer delight of the USA’s Stephanie Jallen when she picked up bronze in the women’s super-G standing. The 18-year-old leapt onto the podium, threw down her crutch and brought a tear to the eye of everybody in the crowd. It was an amazing and humbling moment.”


“Roman Petushkov’s gold on the first day of competition in the 7.5km sitting event set him on his way to a record-breaking Games. He’s unbeaten so far and he firmly established himself as a national hero winning six golds from six events. He is a quite remarkable athlete and should he win a seventh gold on Sunday they he will rewrite all the history books.”

Cross-country skiing

“It’s difficult to choose one, so I’m going to have two from the 1km sprint.

Brian McKeever’s recovery after a fall in the first 100m was not just a great moment of these Games but of Paralympic history. He showed immense determination and willpower to pick himself up, battle through the field and win his second gold of the Games and eleventh Paralympic medal.

“Germany’s Andrea Eskau should also be hailed as beacon of fair play for effectively disqualifying herself in the sitting sprint. She finished in bronze medal position, however was unhappy that her own arm hindered her rivals and so gave up her position.”

Ice sledge hockey

“All of Russia’s games qualify as great moments due to the unbelievable atmosphere created by the home support in the Shayba. It’s hard to believe that the team only started five years ago and to reach the final on home ice is spectacular. The best moment though I suspect will be Saturday’s final against the USA which I am delighted will be shown live on NBC in the U.S. I think the Russians will lift the roof off the arena should they win!”

Wheelchair curling

“On Thursday (13 March), Great Britain and USA were both fighting for a semi-final place. Going into the seventh end, Britain trailed 6-2 and looked totally out of it. However, the Brits scored a five to take the lead, before the US tied in the final nail-biting end. Going into the extra end, the pressure was at boiling point, and the Brits were victorious 8-7. Sensational sport.”

IPC statement on women's 12.5km biathlon standing

The International Paralympic Committe has issued a statement about the women's 12.5km biathlon standing race from Friday (14 March).

Agitos at  Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Centre The Paralympic Agitos sit on display at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Centre at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. © • Getty Images

The protest was rejected by the jury as they felt that they had taken the best decision available to avoid invalidating the overall race results

An IPC Spokesperson said:

During the women's 12.5km biathlon standing race on Friday (14 March) it was discovered during the first lap that the course had been incorrectly marked (subsequent to course inspection by the jury).

As a result, all athletes skied a longer first loop except Japan's Momoko Dekijima who skied the shorter loop.

The course marking was corrected during the first lap.

In order to preserve the race and ensure all athletes completed the same distance, Dekijima was directed by the jury to complete one lap of the longer course on her final lap. This way she skied the same final distance as the other athletes.

Following the race, the Japanese team registered a protest against the unofficial results. The protest was rejected by the jury as they felt that they had taken the best decision available to avoid invalidating the overall race results

Roman Petushkov racks up fifth gold in Sochi

Russia and Ukraine dominated the long-distance biathlon events on Day 7 of the Games.

Roman Petushkov Russia's Roman Petushkov celebrates winning the men's 15km sitting biathlon during Day 7 of Sochi 2014, marking his fifth gold of the Games. © • Getty Images

"Fans at the stadium shouted, 'Roman, we want a fifth gold medal.' That's why I had to take first place. My mental training is easy. I just tell myself, 'I must.'”

Russia’s Roman Petushkov continues to prove unstoppable in the Nordic skiing events at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, winning his fifth gold medal of the Games in the men’s 15km sitting biathlon on Friday (14 March).

The 36-year-old, named the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athlete of the Month at least once each of the past two seasons, clocked in at 42:20.8, ahead of teammates Grigory Murygin (44:25.7) and Aleksandr Davidovich (44:46.2).

"Fans at the stadium shouted, 'Roman, we want a fifth gold medal.' That's why I had to take first place," Petushkov said. "My mental training is easy. I just tell myself, 'I must.'”

After racking up two Paralympic silvers already this week, Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin (36:42.9) finally got his first Sochi 2014 gold in the men’s 15km visually impaired biathlon with guide Andrey Tokarev with a time of 36:42.9. Ukrainians Anatolii Kovalevskyi (38:18.2) and Vitaliy Lukyanenko (38.21.6) finished with the silver and bronze, respectively.

"Yes, it finally happened - my first Paralympic individual gold medal,” Polukhin said. “I'd promised four years ago in Vancouver that I would win Paralympic gold in the individual race in Sochi."

"My federation and trainers have been waiting for me to win a gold since 8 March, but there were some imperfections and mistakes. Today, I tried to do everything without them, to shoot restrained and in cold blood. Everything turned out as I wished."

Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi won gold in the men’s 12.5km standing in a time of 37:41.1 to clinch his first medal of the Games, beating Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset (37:44.2) by just one-tenth of a second. Russia’s top finisher in the event was Kirill Mikhaylov (37:45.6), who took the bronze.

Russian 24-year-old Svetlana Konovalova continued her Paralympic medal streak by winning the women’s 12.5km sitting biathlon in 40:44.0 – putting on a very impressive performance after finishing in seventh place in the event at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships.

Germany’s Anja Wicker (41:27.1) and Ukraine’s Olena Iurkovska (41:30.8) completed the podium, finishing second and third.

There was more Russia and Ukraine dominance in the women’s 12.5km standing biathlon, with Ukrainian Oleksandra Kononova grabbing gold in 40:30.6 ahead of two Russians – Alena Kaufman (40:32.7) and Natalia Bratiuk (41:00.9).

Iuliia Budaleeva took the gold in the women’s 12.5km visually impaired event in 35:25.9, defeating favourite and compatriot Mikhalina Lysova (37:21.0), who took silver. Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova (37:48.8) finished in third place.

Roman Petushkov

Roman Petushkov

Daniel Cnossen of United States

Daniel Cnossen of United States

Lidziya Hrafeyeva of Belarus

Lidziya Hrafeyeva of Belarus

Momoko Dekijima of Japan

Momoko Dekijima of Japan

Oleksandra Kononova of Ukraine

Oleksandra Kononova of Ukraine

Roman Petushkov of Russia,

Roman Petushkov of Russia,

Paralympic Closing Ceremony to show the impossible is possible

Sochi 2014 will come to a close on Sunday evening with spectacular Closing Ceremony.

The Soch 2014 Closing theme will be Reaching the Impossible The Soch 2014 Closing theme will be Reaching the Impossible © • Sochi 2014
By Sochi 2014

The Closing Ceremony of Russia’s first ever Paralympic Winter Games will take place at the Fisht stadium on Sunday (16 March), illustrating to the world how the Games have proven the seemingly impossible is possible.

The thrilling show is titled “Reaching the Impossible" and will celebrate the magnificent achievements of Paralympic athletes, who have shown the world the impossible is possible through strength of spirit and a relentless pursuit of sporting victory.

Aleksey Chuvashev, a rowing Paralympian and medalist at London 2012 will be a central hero of the Ceremony. Demonstrating the wonders of strength and courage, during a section of the Ceremony, he will climb a rope with only his hands to a height of 15 metres.

The Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony team is led by Head Creative Director Konstantin Ernst and Executive Producer Andrei Nasonovsky, supported by Artistic Director Lida Castelli, Associate Director Doug Jack, and producer of Olympic and Paralympic Games’ Ceremonies Marco Balich.

To the backdrop of the music by Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, the Ceremony will be opened by memorable choreographed pieces performed by members of the Russian Wheelchair Dance Sport Federation together with trapeze artists in distinctive illuminated costumes, who form abstract shapes in the air. This segment is produced by the creative duo of Konstantin Vasiliev, coach of world and European champions in wheelchair dance sport, and Phil Hayes, world-renowned aerial choreographer.

A key theme in the buildup and staging of the Paralympic Winter Games, the Closing Ceremony will once again showcase the principle of inclusiveness in action. Among the top performers on the night will be renowned tenor Jose Carreras, Russian singers Nafset Chenib and Diana Gurtskaya, conductor Aleksey Petrov, pianist Oleg Akkuratov and a dance troupe of 210 Cossacks directed by a choreographer Nikolay Kubar.

Over 460 artists, who for the past months have been working hard rehearsing, will take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

The performance is filled with impressive music, breathtaking choreography, original view and vivid visual displays.