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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 Sochi’s 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 “I’m 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, Nov. 22


Russian Premier League-leaders Zenit St. Petersburg return from the international break to take on Kuban Krasnodar at Petrovsky Stadium this evening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game can still be purchased on the club’s website, at the Petrovsky Stadium box office or in any of the club’s merchandise stores.



Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at today’s Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Women’s Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the city’s international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain.” The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their “Industrial St. Petersburg” Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the “Business With China” forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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