Sochi 2014 Paralympics set to break viewing records
Newly re-elected IPC President looks ahead to the next winter Paralympics and urges the Russian public to get behind the Games27 Nov 2013
IPC President Sir Philip Craven has been re-elected to serve another four years.
"You only have to look at the last two years of results from the five winter sports to realise that Russia are the team to beat next March."
To mark 100 days to go until the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games on Wednesday (27 November), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the Games are set to receive more broadcast coverage than ever before and reach more viewers.
Around 750 athletes from 45 countries are set to compete in Sochi starting on 7 March 2014 in five sports - alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
Following the success of London 2012, which attracted a cumulative TV audience of 3.8 billion in over 115 countries, the IPC now expects to beat the record viewing figures for a Winter Games which were set in 2010 when Vancouver attracted a cumulative audience of 1.6 billion.
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: "With 100 days to go, we have more contracts in place with broadcasters than we did as this stage going into Vancouver, so we are fully confident of breaking previous figures.
"The deal we announced this year with NBC in the USA is huge as it opens up the Games to millions of new viewers who will be able to watch the Paralympics for the very first time.
"All the deals we have announced, and are on the verge of announcing, are also for more hours. In 2014 people will have more chance to see the Games around the world and will be able to watch far more too.
"The signs are that more people than ever before will watch the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi next March."
With 100 days to go, the IPC has urged the Russian public to get behind the Games and support the host nation's team, which, according to the IPC President, has the potential to top the medals table.
"You only have to look at the last two years of results from the five winter sports to realise that Russia are the team to beat next March," said Sir Philip.
"In Nordic skiing they are absolute powerhouses, whilst in ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling they are amongst the top teams in the world and serious medal contenders on home ice.
"They also have a number of brilliant alpine skiers who could medal on the Rosa Khutor slopes.
"The organising committee has created some superb venues for athletes to compete in and, with a brilliant home team, this is an event that the Russian public should not miss out on.
"We may be 100 days away from the Games, but the performances of Russian athletes next year have the potential to not only create strong national pride but also help change perceptions of people with an impairment."
In addition to breaking broadcast records, Sir Philip, who was re-elected IPC President on Sunday (24 November) for a further four-year term, believes Sochi 2014 has the potential to transform Russian society.
Since winning the Games in 2007, millions of Euros has been spent in creating a barrier free and accessible Games infrastructure in Sochi ready for athletes to use. The key now according to the IPC President is for the investment in creating accessible and inclusive environments to continue post Games but across the whole of Russia.
"Back in 1980 the Soviet Union did not host the Paralympic Games because they said they did not any impairment in their nation," said Sir Philip. "So to see what has been created in terms of accessible Games infrastructure in Sochi in the last seven years since winning the Games is absolutely tremendous. It is a real credit to the organising committee and the support of the Russian government.
"I hope that once the Games are over, the blueprint that has been created in Sochi's Games infrastructure is rolled out to the rest of Russia. Creating an accessible and inclusive Russia for all can be one of the greatest legacies of next year's Paralympics," he added.
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place between 7-16 March 2014.