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'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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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