The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games were a stunning success, exceeding all expectations.

In a Games of many highlights, one of the best was the vocal crowds and packed venues that became a trademark of Sochi 2014. A record 316,200 tickets were sold, a figure that was almost 40 per cent higher than had been achieved at Vancouver 2010.  The Games were also the most watched in history, attracting a cumulative TV audience of 2.1 billion people.  Three NPCs made their Paralympic Winter Games debuts.

Traditionally, Russian spectators only cheer their own athletes. But they were quickly infected by the Paralympic Spirit, supporting and celebrating the performances of every single athlete.

The biggest impact Sochi 2014 had was on the Russian government and Russian society.

In 1980 the old USSR declined the opportunity to stage the Paralympics because they said the country had nobody with an impairment. Thirty years on, and the attitude could not have been more different.

The driver behind this change was the Games.

Sochi’s election as host city in 2007 led – for the first time – to Russian authorities and society paying attention to the issue of inclusion, and creating accessible environments for all.

New legislation was passed at the highest levels of Government, and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee created a barrier-free infrastructure, ensuring that everything built for the Games was accessible for all.

According to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minster Dmitry Kozak, “they showed what people from different countries and nationalities different cultures and traditions are capable of when they are united by a single goal and an inspired dream.”

Sochi is now a blueprint for the rest of Russia, with 200 cities already using what was created for the Games as a guide for furthering their own accessibility.

According to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minster Dmitry Kozak, “they showed what people from different countries and nationalities different cultures and traditions are capable of when they are united by a single goal and an inspired dream.”

The lives of millions of Russians will be permanently improved and enriched.


The Games featured five sports across Sochi’s Coastal and Mountain Clusters, including alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling. Snowboard made its Paralympic Winter Games debut as a discipline under IPC Alpine Skiing.

Snowboard make its Paralympic debut at Sochi 2014



The Paralympic Torch Relay passed through all eight of Russia's Federal Districts. From 26 February – 7 March 2013, more than 1,000 torchbearers carried the Paralympic Torch through at least 50 Russian regions.

The inaugural Heritage Flame was lit at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury, Great Britain as part of the celebrations, which was the 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.

Every day, the Paralympic Flame was lit simultaneously in several Russian cities, so that at the end of the relay, thanks to the Paralympic Flame Unification Ceremony, it reached the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sochi.


The Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony


The stunning Sochi 2014 Paralympics Opening Ceremony at Fisht Stadium included a volunteer cast of more than 2,500 people from the Krasnodar region of Russia taking centre stage. Two-time Paralympic champion swimmer Olesya Vladykina and six-time Paralympic champion cross-country skier Sergey Shilov lit the Paralympic cauldron.

With a theme of “Breaking The Ice,” the Opening Ceremony evoked the spirit of Russia and the importance of breaking down barriers and stereotypes faced by people around the world every day.

IPC Honorary Board member and opera singer Maria Guleghina performed on a giant icebreaker ship as it passed through the stadium, signifying breaking down barriers and tracing new paths for mankind.


Russia topped the medals table, winning 30 golds and 80 total medals thanks to several top performances in Nordic skiing.

Germany finished second with nine golds and 15 total medals and were followed by Canada with seven golds and 16 total medals.

Nineteen of the 45 countries competing won at least one medal.


The Games involved 541 Para athletes (412 men and 129 women) from a record 45 countries.  Para athletes competed in 72 medal events across five sports, including snowboard which appeared for the first time as part of the alpine skiing programme.

Russia’s Roman Petushkov was the most decorated individual, winning six golds in seven events in biathlon and cross-country skiing.
German alpine skier Anna Schaffelhuber, just 21, won gold in all five of her events in the women’s sitting class to match Lauren Woolstencroft’s record of five golds for a female athlete at the Winter Games.

Anna Schaffelhuber won a stunning five golds at Sochi 2014

By taking the title in three cross-country skiing events – the men’s 1km sprint, 10km and 20km visually impaired races – Canada’s Brian McKeever increased his career Paralympic golds to 10.  In the 1km sprint, he overcame a fall at the start of the race to dramatically win gold.

The loudest crowd of the Games was on the final night of competition, when Russia met USA in the Para ice hockey gold medal match.

The crowd were delirious in their support of the Russian team, despite the fact that the USA became the first team to win back-to-back Paralympic titles.  What was most impressive, however, was their reaction at the end of the game, when they stayed to cheer all three medal-winning teams.

Canada won their third straight Paralympic gold in wheelchair curling.


Sochi 2014 was record-breaking in terms of ticket sales and media coverage for a Paralympic Winter Games, with 316,200 tickets sold, which was 86,200 more than Vancouver 2010.

The Games were the most watched in history.  They were broadcast to a cumulative global TV audience of nearly 2.1 billion people on 125 channels in more than 55 countries and territories, with broadcasters showing more hours of coverage than previous editions of the Games.

In the host country of the Games, broadcasters VGTRK, RBC TV and ANO Sports Broadcasting showed 180 hours of coverage. NBC showcased Paralympic coverage for the first time in the USA, while Channel 4 (Great Britain), EBU (Europe) and NHK (Japan) also had unprecedented coverage for a Winter Games.

The Games were also shown on Attitude Pictures (New Zealand), KBS (South Korea), CCTV (China) and American Movil in the Americas.

Through working with the National Paralympic Committees of Australia, Brazil, Canada and South Africa, they were also shown on ABC, Globo’s Sportv, and CBC/Radio Canada and SuperSport, respectively.

The Samsung Paralympic Bloggers project was carried out for the second time by the IPC and Samsung, with 30 of the world’s leading winter athletes providing over 100 behind-the-scenes video blogs that received more than 50,000 views.

The IPC’s online channels experienced tremendous growth, as, showed more than 300 hours of live coverage and tripled its average monthly traffic. On its YouTube channel, the IPC recorded nearly 2.5 million views, and its Facebook and Twitter pages both increased their following by about 13 per cent. Take a look at some of the Sochi videos here.

During Sochi 2014, there were over 73,000 tweets using the #Paralympics hashtag and 92,000 mentioning the word “Paralympics.”



Through the theme of “Reaching the Impossible,” the Sochi 2014 Paralympics Closing Ceremony illuminated how dreams can be achieved through strength and passion to change the perception of “impossible” to “I’m possible.”

Abstract artwork was brought to life by 462 performers dressed in bright colours who formed geometric shapes to display different images, including illustrations of various winter sports.

A man in a wheelchair then appeared on the scene, faced with the challenge of climbing a 15-metre rope. When he accepted the challenge and reached the top of the rope, he became a flying apostrophe between the letters ‘I’ and ‘M’ in ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ to create ‘I’M POSSIBLE,’ with a spectacular fireworks display celebration the transformation.

The 8,000 Sochi 2014 Paralympic volunteers were recognised as heroes of the Games, and performers in red, blue and green transformed the Paralympic Agitos into a giant heart, embracing 51 volunteers at its centre.

Also during the Ceremony, the Whang Youn Dai Award was presented to Australian alpine skier Toby Kane and Dutch snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee for not only achieving sporting excellence, but also for exemplifying the spirit of the Games by inspiring and exciting the world.

An enchanting cast filled the stage for the finale, putting on a huge dance sequence that included four international voices – Jose Carreras –Nafset Chenib, Diana Gurtskaya and Valeriy Kozlovsky – and ended with a large fireworks display across the entire Olympic Park.