VANCOUVER 2010 PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games brought together 502 Para athletes (381 men and 121 women) from 44 countries.
They competed in 64 medal events across five sports. The Games attracted a cumulative TV audience of 1.6 billion and 230,000 spectators. Germany topped the medals table ahead of Russia and hosts Canada.
Ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling competitions were held in Vancouver, alpine skiing took place in Whistler Creekside and the biathlon and cross-country skiing events were staged at Whistler’s Paralympic Park.
More than 600 torchbearers proudly carried the flame during the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay. The torch visited 11 communities across Canada in 10 days, leading to a 24-hour long circular relay through downtown Vancouver before the Paralympic Cauldron was lit at BC Place.
A sell-out crowd of 60,000 viewed the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics Opening Ceremony, which featured hip-hop dancer Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli and had a theme entitled, “One inspires many.” The crowd gave a thunderous ovation as athletes from 44 nations walked or wheeled into BC Place.
Germany finished atop the medal standings with 13 gold medals and 24 overall. Russia came in second, while host nation Canada had an impressive third-place showing.
German cross-country skier and biathlete Verena Bentele and Canadian alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft topped the individual medals table, collecting five gold medals apiece.
German alpine skier Gerd Schoenfelder and Russian cross-country skiier Irek Zaripov each won four gold medals and one silver medal in their respective events.
Despite being the host nation and the defending champions, Canada’s ice sledge hockey fell in the semi-finals to a very strong Japanese squad. In the finals, team USA took the gold medal, leaving Japan with the silver.
Host nation Canada took the gold medal in wheelchair curling, while Korea won the silver and Sweden the bronze.
Canadian cross-country skiier Brian McKeever won three golds at Whistler Paralympic Park.
ATTENDANCE AND COVERAGE
With ticket sales reaching 230,000 the Vancouver Games set a new Winter Paralympic Games record as far as ticket sales go.
Nearly 1,200 media representatives covered the Games – an increase of 12 percent from the previous Paralympics. Japan had the biggest audience with almost 538 million viewers, followed by Germany, which had nearly 400 million viewers.
Alpine skiing proved to be the most popular sport among viewers, garnering a total audience of more than 690 million.
The IPC’s own online television channel, www.ParalympicSport.TV, provided more than 437,000 live streams during competition time.
Athletes paraded through cheering supporters lining Whister’s Village Stroll on their way to the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics Closing Ceremony, which took place on 21 March. The ceremony featured a performance by Quebec’s La Bottine Souriante and Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq.