Sunday, August 31, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS



BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

The Romanovs in St. Petersburg

History of St. Petersburg Museum

Small Tragedy, Fatal Passion

Rimsky-Korsakov Apartment Museum

 

  Print this article Print this article

'Best Winter Paralympics Ever' Close in Sochi

Published: March 17, 2014 (Issue # 1801)



  • The uplifting and colorful ceremony brought down the curtain on the XIth Paralympic Winter Games.
    Photo: Alexei Kudenko / RIA Novosti

International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven declared the Sochi Games closed Sunday in a ceremony celebrating the ambition and ability of disabled people.

The uplifting and colorful ceremony brought down the curtain on the XIth Paralympic Winter Games. Nine days of competition which featured 547 disabled athletes from 45 countries ended as the Paralympic flame was extinguished on its tower in Sochis Olympic Park.

The Paralympic flag passed to the organizers of the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, who staged a brief show featuring traditional dance and calligraphy.

Related: Elegant Ceremony Brings Winter Olympics to a Close in Sochi

Do you sense a greater degree of liberation whether here in Sochi, in wider Russia or throughout the world? Well I do, I can tell you, said Craven, who peppered his closing speech with Russian words. The Paralympic spirit has united and infected us all.

He added: "I thank you all and say with great pleasure, Sochi 2014 - the best Paralympic Winter Games ever."

As at the Olympics a month before, Russia topped the final standings, winning a total of 80 Winter Paralympic medals, more than any country in history.

Related: Errors Aside, Sochi Seen as a Success

The Paralympic Games have become a catalyst for our efforts to create a barrier-free environment in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said. The Games are over, but we promise that this important work will continue throughout our vast country.

Themed around the slogan Reaching the Impossible, the closing ceremony featured a nod to Russian pioneers of abstract art, but was otherwise relentlessly high-tempo, with a hip-hop dance sequence that celebrated the computer game Tetris, designed by Russian Alexei Pazhitnov in the 1980s.

In a rare nod to non-Russian culture at any of the Sochi Olympic or Paralympic ceremonies, Western music including Led Zeppelin and the Mission Impossible theme tune played as the Tetris blocks were raised to reveal the slogan Impossible.

That changed to Im Possible as disabled performer Alexei Chuvashev climbed a rope to insert the crucial apostrophe.

A sequence followed mixing breakdancing, traditional Cossack dance and performances by wheelchair dancers, all dressed in the colors of the Russian flag.

The Sochi Games featured 72 medal events in five sports, the highest number for any Winter Paralympics to date.

Around 325,000 tickets were sold for the Sochi Paralympics, organizers said earlier in the day. That is around 90,000 more than the Winter Games record set by Vancouver in 2010.

The next Paralympics are the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



Times Talk