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March 10, 2014

Ukraine\’s Lyudmyla Pavlenko wins gold in 2014 Winter Paralympics

Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Pavlenko wins gold in 2014 Winter Paralympics

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Yesterday at the Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Center at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, Ukrainian Lyudmyla Pavlenko won gold in the women’s 12km sitting race. United States skier Oksana Masters won silver, and Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova won bronze. Other United States skiers in the race included Tatyana McFaddenn who finished fifth, Monica Bascio who finish seventh, and Beth Requist who finished sixteenth.

Russia swept the podium in the men’s 15km sitting event held earlier in the day, with Roman Petuschkov winning gold, Irek Zaripov silver and Aleksandr Davidovich bronze. Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi finished just out of medal standing fourth place. United States skiers in the race included Andrew Soule who finished fifth, Sean Halstead who finished ninth, Aaron Pike who finished twelfth, Daniel Cnossen who finished thirteenth, Augusto Jose Perez who finished seventeenth and Bryan Price who finished nineteenth.

Sochi XCountry 18.jpg Winners of the women’s sitting 12km cross country at the flower ceremony.
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi XCountry 2.jpg Poland’s Kamil Rosiek starts the men’s race.
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi XCountry 3.jpg Aleksandr Davidovich of Russia starts the men’s race.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 4.jpg The United States’s Daniel Cnossen starts the men’s race.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 5.jpg A men’s skier finished the race.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 6.jpg Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Tkachenko finishes the men’s race in tenth place.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 7.jpg Italy’s Roland Ruepp finished the men’s race in sixteenth place.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 1.jpg Italy’s Giordana Tomasoni starts the men’s race
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 8.jpg The result’s for the men’s race are shown on the big screen.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 9.jpg The start list for the women’s race are shown on the big screen.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 10.jpg Belarus’s Lludmila Vauchok starts the women’s race.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 11.jpg A view of the mountain against the backdrop of part of the race course.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 12.jpg A woman skier on the course.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 13.jpg The United States’s Oksana Masters crossing the finish line in second place.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 14.jpg Norway’s Birgit Skarstein finishing the race in twelfth place.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 15.jpg The United States’s Beth Requist finishing last and in sixteenth place. The race had seventeen skiers. Andrea Eskau of Germany started the race but did not finish.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 16.jpg Italy’s Francesca Porcellato finishes tenth.
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi XCountry 17.jpg The results of the women’s race.
Image: Laura Hale.



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Wheelchair curling enters third day at 2014 Winter Paralympics

Wheelchair curling enters third day at 2014 Winter Paralympics

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Monday, March 10, 2014

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Wheelchair curling continued today at the Ice Cube Curling Center at the 2014 Winter Paralympics on difficult playing conditions as a result of the warm temperature outside. In the morning session, the South Korea lost to Russia in the eighth end by a score of 5–7, the United States lost to Canada 2–7 in seven ends, Norway edged out Finland 6–8 in extra ends, and China defeated Sweden 8–4 in seven ends.

At the conclusion of the morning session, round robin standing had Canada in first with 4 wins; Slovakia in second with 3 wins; Russia in third with 3 wins and 1 loss; Great Britain in fourth with 2 wins and 1 loss; China and Norway in fifth with 2 wins and 2 losses; South Korea, Sweden, and the United States in seventh place with 1 win and 3 losses; and Finland last with 4 losses.

Finland and Norway were evenly matched, going point for point in the first pair of ends, trading 2 points each in the next pair of ends, then Norway scored 2 points and 1 point in the next ends with Finland answering back. Tied after eight ends, they went to extra ends which Norway won with 2 points.

Outpacing other curlers on the ice, United States looked like they might be able to come back to tie things after their second end against Canada, and then only being down one after the fourth end, but Canada went on to score points in the next three ends.

While Sweden won three of the seven ends they played against China, they were unable to beat the Chinese team who scored 2 points in two ends and 3 points in another end. In the fourth end, the 3 points came after a precision takeout by the Chinese skip Wang Haitao that cleared two Swedish stones off the sheet.

With the crowd behind them the entire match, Russia came from behind after the first end and third end to tie things up in the fifth end and take the lead. They allowed the South Koreans to score two points in the seventh end to force an eighth end. Russian skip Andrei Smirnov cleared a South Korean stone sitting in front of three Russian stones off the sheet that gave the Russians a two point lead.

The United States has not medaled at the past two Paraympic Games, with their best finish a fourth at the 2010 Games. Of the United States’s curling team, two are returning wheelchair curling Paralympic veterans. James Joseph, the second, competed at the 2006 Winter Paralympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics. The skip and Madison, Wisconsin native, Patrick McDonald, competed at the 2010 Games. Penny Greely, the lead, competed in sitting volleyball at the 2004 Summer Paralympics where she won a bronze medal. David Palmer, the third, is competing at his first games after having a fourth place finish at the 2013 World Championships in Russia and a fifth place finish at the 2012 World Championships in South Korea. Alternate and Cape Cod native Meghan Lino is also at her first Paralympic Games after taking up the sport in 2009.

Sweden’s team has three team members who competed at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada: Jalle Jungnell, Glenn Ikonen, and Patrik Kallin. 60 year old Jungnell has the team’s most Paralympic experience, having competed at the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Summer Paralympics in wheelchair basketball, as well as competing at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Paralympics in wheelchair curling. Finnish born Ikonen had been suspended for six months following the Vancouver Games following a positive doping test. He claimed metroprolol was a drug he had been using for 4 or 5 years, and was unhappy that his doctor prescribed the blood pressure reducing drug because he would not have intentionally taken a banned substance.

The 2014 Games are the first Paralympics for Russia’s wheelchair curling team. Alternate Oksana Slesarenko from Yekaterinburg and skip Andrei Smirnov also from Yekaterinburg have the most experience on the team, both having taken up the sport in 2003, and competing at the 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013 World Championships.

Team Canada includes all five members of their 2013 World Championship winning team, including 63-year-old skip Jim Armstrong, 51-year-old Dennis John Thiessen, 52-year-old Ina Forrest, 47-year-old Sonja Gaudet, and 37-year-old Mark Ideson. Gaudet is the only wheelchair curling Paralympian with two gold medals, having won them in 2006 and 2010. Teammates Armstrong and Thiessen were part of the 2010 gold medal winning team. Gaudet also has gold medals from the 2009, 2011, and 2013 World Championships. While Armstrong was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1990 for his accomplishments in able bodied curling, Gaudet was the first wheelchair-only curler to be inducted when she was part of the 2013 class.

South Korea has two returning 2010 Games silver medalists, Kang Mi-Suk and Kim Myung-Jin. Both originally played other sports before taking up curling. Kang played table tennis and Kim played wheelchair basketball.

On Saturday, Russia beat China 5–4, South Korea lost to Norway 0–10, Canada beat Great Britain 6–3, and Slovakia defeated the United States 6–4 in the morning session. Sweden beat Finland 7–6, Canada beat Russia 5–4, the United States lost to South Korea 5–9, and Norway lost to China 3–7. In the morning session yesterday, the United States defeated Norway 8–5, Sweden lost to Great Britain by a score of 4–6, China lost to Slovakia 3–8, and Finland lost to Russia 4–7. In the afternoon session yesterday, Canada defeated Sweden 7–4, Finland lost to Slovakia 6–9, and Great Britain beat South Korea by a score of 8–4.

Unlike able-bodied curling, players release the stone from a stationary position and there is no sweeping. Another curler often sits behind the stone thrower to hold their chair in place while they execute their throw. Unlike a number of other Paralympic sports, there is only one classification in wheelchair curling and a variety of lower body disabilities compete in the sport. South Koreans Kim Myung-Jin and Kim Jong-Pan, Swede Kristina Ulander, Team USA’s Meghan Lino, Patrick McDonald, and David Palmer, and Russians Alexander Shevchenko, Svetlana Pakhomova, Oksana Slesarenko, Andrei Smirnov, and Marat Romanov have spinal cord injuries. Canadian Jim Armstrong has injured knees. Canadian Ina Forrest lost her leg in a farming accident. Team USA’s James Joseph has a limb deficiency.

Sochi Wheelchair Curling 3.jpg Team USA confers on a shot
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi Wheelchair Curling 4.jpg The Russian team confers on a shot
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi Wheelchair Curling 5.jpg Finland and Norway congratulate eachother following the conclusion of their game
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi Wheelchair Curling 1.jpg Team USA fans watching the matches
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi Wheelchair Curling 2.jpg Bagpipers playing before the start of wheelchair curling
Image: Laura Hale.



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March 8, 2014

Norway beats Czech Republic in sledge hockey overtime win in first match at Winter Paralympics

Norway beats Czech Republic in sledge hockey overtime win in first match at Winter Paralympics

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Saturday, March 8, 2014 In the first sledge hockey game of the 2014 Winter Paralympics held earlier today at Shayba Arena at Sochi‘s Coastal Village Olympic Park, Norway defeated the Czech Republic 2–1 in a shootout win. Norway’s Audun Bakke scored the team’s only goal in regulation time during the second period. The Czech Republic’s Michal Geier scored the equalizer in the third period. Norway scored the only overtime shootout goal.

These Games are only the second ones that the Czech sledge hockey team have participated in, making their debut at the 2010 Winter Paralympics. In contrast, Norway has medalled at every Paralympic Games since the sport was added as a medal sport to the Paralympic program at the 1994 Winter Paralympics. They are the only country to have this accomplishment.

Norway is next scheduled to play Canada tomorrow, and then Sweden on March 11 to complete their games in group play. The Czech Republic is scheduled to play Sweden tomorrow and conclude group play against Canada on March 11.

CZE v NOR 1.jpg The Czech goalkeeper following a shot by the Norwegian team in overtime.
Image: Laura Hale.

CZE v NOR 2.jpg A puck at center ice waiting for a Norwegian player to take it to shoot during the overtime shootout.
Image: Laura Hale.

CZE v NOR 3.jpg The Norwegian team celebrating in front of their net.
Image: Laura Hale.
CZE v NOR 4.jpg Czech fans in the stands.
Image: Laura Hale.
CZE v NOR 5.jpg Norway at center ice saluting the fans following their win.
Image: Laura Hale.



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Canada routs Sweden in sledge hockey at Winter Paralympics

Canada routs Sweden in sledge hockey at Winter Paralympics

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sweden’s starting goalie watches the third period from the bench
Image: Laura Hale.

Earlier today, in the second game of sledge hockey play at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, top-seeded Canada routed Sweden by a score of 10–1. Anthony Gale, Adam Dickson, and Dominic Larocque led their team in scoring with two goals a piece.

Canada dominated possession in the first period, and ended with four goals on eleven shots. With the puck rarely in the Canadian third, Sweden managed only one shot on goal in the first. Billy Bridges scored first for Canada, with Ben Delaney scoring Canada’s second, Adam Gale scoring Canada’s third and Dominic Larocque scoring Canada’s fourth goal in the first period.

Sweden came out with more energy in the second period, managing to get the puck more into the Canadian third of the rink but finished the period with only two shots on goal. Canada on the other hand managed to get eleven shots on goal in the second period, scoring three times.

Kenth Jonsson came into goal to start the third period for Sweden, with Ulf Nilsson leaving. The third period involved a lot of Canadian puck possession in the Swedish third. When Sweden was able to make a run down the ice with the puck, the crowds cheered loudly. Despite the puck possession issues, Sweden scored first in the third with a goal by Per Kasperi off an assist from Niklas Ingvarsson and Niklas Rakos with around 9:38 left in the third period.

Five minutes left, Canada went on to score a quick succession of goals, the first coming with 4:48 left in the third and during a power play. Adam Dickson scored with an assist from Brad Bowden and Kevin Rempel. Twenty seconds later, Dominic Larocque scored with an assist from Rempel. With 3:30 left in the game, Canada went up 10–1 with a goal scored by Anthony Gale. The Canadian fans were on their feet and waving their flags. Neither team was able to score in the remaining time.

Canada had a much deeper bench than Sweden, and were able to execute multiple complete line changes. In contest, Sweden had only three available players on their bench, with line changes consisting of changing only one player. Canada’s official roster has 15 players and 2 goalkeepers, while Sweden’s has 12 and 2 goalkeepers.

Canada finished fourth at the 2010 Winter Paralympics, a contest played on home soil, with eight members of their current seventeen member roster returning to compete in the 2014 Games. Despite the depth of experience for Canada, they were a younger squad than Sweden with an average age of 26 to Sweden’s 33.

In sledge hockey, players use two hockey sticks, one in each hand. One end of the hockey stick is very hard and used to propel the player down the ice. The other side looks like a smaller version of a traditional ice hockey stick and is used to hit the puck. Players compete while sitting in a sledge, which has two blades at the back that can be no longer than a third of the length of the sledge. The height of the sledge off the ice is high enough that the puck may pass under it.

Canada V Sweden 1.jpg
Image: Laura Hale.

Canada V Sweden 2.jpg
Image: Laura Hale.

Canada V Sweden 3.jpg
Image: Laura Hale.
Canada V Sweden 4.jpg
Image: Laura Hale.
Canada V Sweden 5.jpg
Image: Laura Hale.
Canada V Sweden 6.jpg
Image: Laura Hale.
Canada V Sweden 7.jpg
Image: Laura Hale.



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Winter Paralympics Opening Ceremony takes place in Sochi

Winter Paralympics Opening Ceremony takes place in Sochi

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

The 2014 Winter Paralympics officially opened last night in Sochi, Russia. The ceremony was attended by Russian Federation leader Vladmir Putin. 45 nations are competing, including Argentina, Kazakhstan, the United States, Mexico, Armenia, Brazil, Ukraine, and Russia. During the speech about values to be upheld during the Games, sexual orientation was mentioned. There were no direct mentions of the situation in the Crimea region of Ukraine, whose 31-athlete-strong delegation participated in the parade of nations with only their flag bearer. During a press conference earlier yesterday, the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee President said the team had two or three options they were considering for the Opening Ceremony.

2014 Opening 1.jpg The United States team enters the arena.
Image: Laura Hale.

2014 Opening 2.jpg Ukraine’s flag bearer enters the arena to a loud roar.
Image: Laura Hale.

2014 Opening 3.jpg Ukraine’s flag bearer enters the arena to a loud roar.
Image: Laura Hale.
2014 Opening 4.jpg The Argentinian and Kazakhstani delegations watch the opening ceremony following the parade of nations.
Image: Laura Hale.
2014 Opening 5.jpg Valdmir Putin welcomes the athletes.
Image: Laura Hale.
2014 Opening 6.jpg The Paralympic flag enters the arena.
Image: Laura Hale.
2014 Opening 7.jpg The Paralympic flag is raised and the show continues.
Image: Laura Hale.



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USA sledge hockey team beats Italy in Winter Paralympics opener

USA sledge hockey team beats Italy in Winter Paralympics opener

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Rico Roman of Team USA fights with Valerio Corvino of Italy for the puck
Image: Laura Hale.

With the home-crowd Russian fans on the side of the Italians, the United States defeated Italy in sledge hockey by a score of 5–1 today in both teams’ opening game at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

The United States started the first period with possession, but much of this was on their own third of the ice. Both teams did a full line change within the first minute of play following an Italian penalty by Bruno Balossetti that resulted in a United States power player. While the USA got possession on the penalty, it was after a few seconds where who had possession was questionable. The puck then changed possession several times. Both goalies had to work in the opening minutes of the game. With 12:20 left in the first, Italy had a fast break down the ice. In defending his goal, the Team USA goalie fell over and there was a mob in front of the goal trying to move the puck. The USA managed to prevent the Italians from scoring. Following this, there was a line change and a similar pile up in front of the Team USA net at 12:13. After a penalty that saw Andy Yohe get 2 minutes for roughing, the United States got possession.

Both sides had their fans in arena, with several large Italian flags behind their team’s bench. There were a pair of United States flags. When the Italians had the puck and looked likely to score, the multitude of Russian flags were waved and the fans cheered in support of the team. The United States allowed Italy to get possession after two players crashed into each other and had to untangle their sledges. At 10:20 left, Italy managed to get a shot on goal, which the USA goalie stopped. With 10:09, both teams were to full strength. There was another pile up, this time in front of the Italian net, at 9:12 left. The United States had problems passing during much of this time, and with keeping the puck out of their third. A United States fan was screaming at the team at one point shouting, “Get it out.” Italy had several good chances but they were not able to capitalize on them. At 2:30 left, the United States and Italy were about equal with shots on goal: 4 for USA, 5 for Italy. At 2:30 left in the first, Valerio Corvino of Italy got 2 minutes in the penalty box for roughing. With 1:15, good passes by Nikko Landeros and Taylor Chance lead to a goal by Declan Farmer on a power player opportunity. Immediately following the goal, Italian Werner Winkler got a 2 minute penalty for roughing. The pace of the game slowed down in the final minutes, and there were fewer hits. The occasional United States fan chanted “USA, USA, USA.” The first period ended 1–0 in favour of the United States.

Italy and the United States face off
Image: Laura Hale.

The second period started with lots of Italian cheering from the stands, while the Americans possessed the puck on the Italian third of the ice. Both teams were shorthanded, each with a player in the penalty box. The penalties were over and both teams were at full strength by 14:10 left in the second. Early in the period, Italy got a two minute penalty for too many players on the ice. The United States also addressed possession problems they had in the first period and kept the puck in front of the Italian goal. Team USA still had problems with executing passes though. Whenever the Italians got possession of the puck and looked like they might have a remote chance of scoring, the Russian fans started cheering loudly. With 3:48 left in the second, Brody Roybal scored with an assist from Declan Farmer. With 1:18 left in the second, Guiseppe Condello got a 2 minute penalty for teeing when he rammed the front of his sledge into a USA player’s sledge. The period ended 2–0 in favour of the the United States.

During the intermission, a Paralympic presenter went into the audience to talk to Team USA fans in the stands for the screens found on display in the arena. Following a little patter, she asked the fans to do the Team USA chant, which they did. In response to the requested, “USA! USA! USA!” chant, a number of people inside the arena booed.

The third period started with Team USA possession. Early in the period, Taylor Chase had a 2 minute penalty for teeing, and both teams were shorthanded with 14:38 left in the third. Italy was back at full strength by 14:17. Despite the teeing penalty, the number of collisions appeared down from earlier in the game. Both teams were at full strength with 12:33 left in the third period. With 11:56 left in the third, Joshua Sweeney got the puck, moved it down the ice and then slid it past the Italian goalkeeper to score an unassisted goal. Midway through the third period, and most of the puck possession took place on the Italian third of the ice. With 4:42 left in the third, with assists from Joshua Pauls and Nikko Landeros, Brody Roybal scored on the Italians to little applause from people in the arena. The score was 4–0. Following the goal, Team USA took a timeout and made a goalkeeper change, with Steve Cash out and Jen Lee in. With 3:26 left in the third, Team USA player Paul Schaus earned a 2 minute penalty for roughing. The Team USA goalie made a fantastic above-the-head glove save with 3:05 left in the third. With 1:26 left in the game, Italian Florian Planker scored off an assist from Gianluca Cavaliere. The stadium erupted into loud chanting, and lots of waving of Russian flags. Adam Page was injured with 1:08 left in the game, and left the ice to a round of applause from the fans. The United States’s Paul Schaus scored off an assist from Nikko Landeros with just under 5 seconds left in the game, bringing the final score to 5–1.

The United States comes into Sochi as previous Paralympic gold medalists, having won it at all at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada. Steve Cash started for Team USA. He did not let in a single goal during the 2010 Winter Paralympics.

USA v ITA 1.JPG Team USA takes the ice for the start of the game
Image: Laura Hale.

USA v ITA 2.JPG An Italian player handles the puck behind his own net
Image: Laura Hale.

USA v ITA 3.JPG Team USA faces off with Italy after a penalty
Image: Laura Hale.
USA v ITA 4.JPG Fans of Team USA in the stands
Image: Laura Hale.
USA v ITA 5.JPG Team USA tried to retain the puck while against the boards
Image: Laura Hale.
USA v ITA 6.JPG Both teams battle it out for the puck
Image: Laura Hale.
USA v ITA 7.JPG The Italian goalkeeper stops the puck from a Team USA shot
Image: Laura Hale.
USA v ITA 8.JPG Adam Page is injured and on the ice
Image: Laura Hale.
USA v ITA 9.JPG The Italian goalkeeper
Image: Laura Hale.
USA v ITA 10.JPG Both teams shake hands at the conclusion of the game
Image: Laura Hale.



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March 7, 2014

Ukrainian Paralympic Committee announces decision to compete at Games so their goal of peace will not be forgotten

Ukrainian Paralympic Committee announces decision to compete at Games so their goal of peace will not be forgotten

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Friday, March 7, 2014

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After the announcement the press conference venue was changed, the media surged towards the new location
Image: Illya K.

President of the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee Valeriy Sushkevich
Image: Illya K.

After the announcement the press conference venue was changed, the media surged towards the new location
Image: Illya K.

Sochi, Russia — At a press conference this afternoon in Sochi, the President of the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee, Valeriy Sushkevich, announced the Ukrainian Paralympic team would compete at this year’s Paralympics in Russia as a unified sovereign state.

He said the Ukrainian Paralympic team is very democratic, and reached this decision together. Their view is if they boycotted the Games, their message of peace would be forgotten in a few hours. While stating the team intends to compete, the Ukrainian team reserved the right to leave the Games immediately should peace not happen, and the Russian military does further intervention in the Ukraine.

Sushkevich, who is also a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, denied accusations their comments and decisions have been political in regards to the two hour delay for the team’s welcome to the Paralympic village, and actions taken during the welcome ceremony. Rather, he claimed these actions were motivated by a message of peace and human rights. He claimed the situation for Ukraine is unique. According to Sushkevich, never before during the Paralympic Games has the host country invaded a participating country. Suskevich talked about a discussion he had yesterday with Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia, where Sushkevich talked to Putin as a member of the Paralympic family. He said he asked Putin for peace, for detente at least until the Paralympic Games are over. The response he received from Putin was that he was heard and Putin would think about what he said.

The President said that he views the achievements of the Paralympics above that of the Olympics, that the Paralympics play a vital role in the lives of the athletes. He said the 31 members of the Ukrainian team want to compete. There is a problem being the national team of the Ukraine, though, when the country is not whole. He later said the team has representatives from ten regions of the country, including the western Russian parts.

Further comments were made by Ukrainian Paralympic Committee President that in past few years, all of Ukraine’s Paralympians who were veterans of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He hoped in the future, there would be peace and there would be no need to have veterans on the team who had disabilities that were a result of war.

Ukrainian biathlon competitor Grygorii Vovchynskyii also spoke during the press conference. He said Ukrainian Paralympians are part of a big family, and supporters ask them every day how they feel. According to Vovchynskyii, Ukrainian Paralympians want peace. They are ready to compete. They want to show they are a free and independent people who love fair competition.

At a press conference immediately following the Ukrainian one, IPC representative Craig Spence said IPC learned of Ukraine’s decision to compete at the same time as the media. He said he would prefer Ukraine competes but would understand if they decided to leave. Spence also said all 45 teams and all competing athletes were reminded there could be no alterations to their kits, and no protests. Everyone is bound by these rules, and the IPC is monitoring social media for athlete compliance.



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IPC President Sir Philip Craven says Paralympic Games should not be about politics

IPC President Sir Philip Craven says Paralympic Games should not be about politics

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Friday, March 7, 2014

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Sir Philip Craven at press conference earlier today
Image: Illya K.

Alexandra Kosterina at press conference earlier today
Image: Illya K.

Sochi, Russia — At a press conference today in the Main Press Center in Sochi, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven repeatedly said the Paralympic Games should be about sports, not politics. Craven went on to say that much of the discussion about the politics of sport took place because the media had a void to fill before the start of sporting events, and he thought it would die down after the Games got under way.

Craven also remarked that it was better to create change from the inside, rather than the outside. In response to a question from a French journalist about the decision of French leaders not to attend the opening ceremonies tonight, Craven said he was disappointed for the athletes because the politicians were making a choice to make this about politics, and not about sport. Craven repeated the Games should be about sport. Craven said in response to another question it would be possible for the Ukrainians to boycott the opening ceremony

IPC Communications Director Craig Spence said that the Ukraine Paralympic Committee delayed their welcome ceremony into the Paralympic Village by two hours yesterday, and the IPC approved the decision. The story that the Ukrainians delayed their welcome ceremony as a political statement was one the IPC would investigate, and would largely be contingent upon what they said at the press conference the Ukrainians called for today at 1:30PM Sochi local time (0930 UTC). He said the world and the Paralympic movement is aware of the situation in the Ukraine, but the IPC needs to stay true to its mission.

Sir Philip Craven initially started his remarks at the press conference talking about the legacy of the Paralympic Games in terms of accessibility of sports in Sochi. He also talked about how he was excited for the Games to start.



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March 6, 2014

Jon Lujan named United States flag bearer for 2014 Winter Paralympics opening ceremony

Jon Lujan named United States flag bearer for 2014 Winter Paralympics opening ceremony

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

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An image of Jon Lujan with Millie Knight, the flag bearer from Great Britain, that was taken from his Twitter feed earlier today.
Image: Jon Lujan.

File photo of Sonja Gaudet
Image: popejon2.

Sochi, Russia — Yesterday, Jon Lujan of Littleton, Colorado was named the United States flag bearer for the 2014 Winter Paralympics opening ceremony scheduled to take place tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. Lujan is a United States Marine Corps veteran, and will be competing in the alpine events at this year’s Games.

In Sochi, Lujan is rooming with Heath Calhoun, the 2010 Winter Paralympics United States flag bearer. Like Lujan, Calhoun is also a veteran, having served in the army.

In 2003, while serving in Iraq, Lujan ruptured two discs in his back. Following a back surgery in 2005 that attempted to fix the discs, he had complications that resulted in permanent nerve damage and paralysis in his lower legs.

Also yesterday, wheelchair curler Sonja Gaudet was named the flag bearer of the Canadian delegation.

Earlier today, skier Millie Knight was selected as the flagbearer for Great Britain. At 15 years of age, Knight is the youngest member of Team GB.



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Preparations underway for start of 2014 Winter Paralympics

Preparations underway for start of 2014 Winter Paralympics

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Thursday, March 6, 2014 Sochi, Russia — The opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Paralympics are scheduled to take place tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. Today, Olympic Park in Adler was quiet, with few people moving about it and set-up for food stalls taking place. Most of the entrances to the Park were closed, though the line for accreditation was busy this afternoon. Most of the people working today did not speak English, and were not aware of where venues were to be found.

Sochi 2014 A.JPG Inside the Coastal Village Olympic Park in Adler, Russia, a sign pointing the wrong way to the press center
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi 2014 B.JPG Inside the Coastal Village Olympic Park in Adler, Russia
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi 2014 C.JPG Inside the Coastal Village Olympic Park in Adler, Russia
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi 2014 e.JPG Inside the Coastal Village Olympic Park in Adler, Russia
Image: Laura Hale.
Socho 2014 C.JPG Inside the Coastal Village Olympic Park in Adler, Russia
Image: Laura Hale.
Adler and Russia Sochi 2014 01.JPG A sign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the train route in the Sochi region on the ride between Moscow and Adler.
Image: Laura Hale.
Adler and Russia Sochi 2014 02.JPG A sign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the train route in the Sochi region on the ride between Moscow and Adler.
Image: Laura Hale.
Adler and Russia Sochi 2014 03.JPG A sign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the train route in the Sochi region on the ride between Moscow and Adler.
Image: Laura Hale.
Adler and Russia Sochi 2014 04.JPG A sign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the train route in the Sochi region on the ride between Moscow and Adler.
Image: Laura Hale.
Adler and Russia Sochi 2014 05.JPG A sign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the train route in the Sochi region on the ride between Moscow and Adler.
Image: Laura Hale.
Adler and Russia Sochi 2014 06.JPG A sign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the train route in the Sochi region on the ride between Moscow and Adler.
Image: Laura Hale.



Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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