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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