Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Sochi 2014 one year on: A Sochi resident’s view

Dana Vorokova, a resident of Sochi, worked for the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee as Volunteer and Internal Communications Manager. Find out how she experienced the Paralympic Games in her home town and how Sochi has changed since the Games. 15 Mar 2015
Dana Vorokova, a resident of Sochi

Dana Vorokova

ⒸDana Vorokova
By Dana Vorokova | For the IPC

The Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi were a unique opportunity for me to see global sport, to be proud of it, to value it, to feel it, and be inspired by it.

It was gorgeous and historical to host the first ever Paralympics in Russia in my hometown and host athletes and guests from all around the world. The Sochi Paralympics was a celebration of possibility. Nine days of sporting heroism made my hometown the centre of the world.

Being the part of the Paralympics is a fantastic feeling!

There is a mix of people involved in something unique and it is cool to be with so many people sharing moments of the Paralympics. It’s such a great experience to share my feelings, enjoy competitions, give joy, show my support and contribute to the success of the Paralympics.

The Games showed what people from different countries, cultures and traditions are capable of when they are united by a dream. And now I can say ‘Everything is possible!’.

The Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi were awe-inspiring and the atmosphere was electric and really fantastic!

A new era in the history of Russia has begun because of the Paralympic Winter Games - the era without barriers and stereotypes. Sochi has changed from an ordinary resort town into a global sports centre. Sochi now has a unique complex of several sports venues, ski resorts and all related infrastructure to host international sport events. But the most important thing is the change in attitudes of the Russian society towards people with disabilities. The Paralympic Winter Games have changed the entire nation. The Paralympics have united us all. It is also important that people with disabilities are involved in public life – in sport and in life.

I enjoyed every minute of the Sochi Paralympics but the Opening Ceremony was a sight I will never forget. The most memorable moment for me was the athletes’ parade. I heard and felt how the Paralympians were met by a rousing round of applause from audience. I have never felt so little, so insignificant, so inferior in front of people with disabilities. It was so special. I think that moment I will remember forever.

Sochi is now a year-round world-class sports, business and tourist centre with a huge post-Games legacy and I feel a burning pride and respect for my hometown. The Games are over but it only a new beginning for Sochi and we should move on in the spirit of the Paralympic motto “Spirit in Motion!”