On March 7th, Russia celebrates the countdown of 1 Year to go until the first Paralympic Winter Games in the history of the country. The Games will be held in Sochi on March 7-16, 2014. 1350 Paralympic athletes and team members fr om 45 countries will participate in the Games, and 72 sets of medals will be won in five Paralympic sports.
On March 5, in Sochi as part of the Russian Sledge Hockey Championship, an Exhibition match with the Russian National Sledge Hockey Team and the Higher Hockey League Team HC "Kuban" was held. The HC “Kuban” players tried Paralympic sledge instead of their normal skates and together with athletes with disabilities demonstrated the strength and the unity of sports.
On March, 6, also in Sochi, on the eve of one year to the Games, the next Paralympic Test Event was launched at the "Rosa Khutor" Alpine Center, the IPC Alpine World Cup Finals. Among the competitions is Para-Snowboard, a new event that spectators of the Paralympic Games will be able to see for the first time in Sochi.
In Moscow, celebrations were held in Red Square, wh ere the presentation of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay route and the official Paralympic Games pictograms took place. During the ceremony the General Partners of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games were announced. World industry leaders, such as Coca-Cola, Dow, General Electric (GE), Samsung and Visa obtained their honorary diplomas from the President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko.
Paralympic Torch Relay
The Paralympic Torch Relay route and the Paralympic pictograms will be presented by the President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko at the Red Square Ice Rink. The relay will last for 10 days, from February, 26 to March, 7, 2014 and will go through 43 cities in all 8 Federal regions of Russia. Over 1500 torchbearers will get the opportunity to carry the Paralympic torch. The new Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay website will be available at www.torchrelay.sochi2014.com/Paralympic and will reveal the selection criteria and specific deadlines for Paralympic torchbearers.
Every day, the Paralympic flame will be lit simultaneously in several Russian cities, so that at the end of the relay, thanks to the Paralympic flame "unification" ceremony, it will reach the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sochi.
One year before the launch of the Paralympic Winter Games, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee presented a selection of Paralympic pictograms. These images of sports and disciplines provide information for participants and guests on the location of events and the sports in the Paralympic program.
There are more Paralympic pictograms than there are Paralympic sports (6 pictograms for 5 Paralympic sports), this is due to the fact that para-snowboard has been added as a new event to the sport program of the Paralympic Games in Sochi for the first time in history. Para-snowboard entered the program as one of the alpine skiing events; however, it has its own features which are reflected in a separate pictogram.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, highlighted:
"Today we are all celebrating One year to the start of the Paralympic Games in Sochi, and we can be extremely proud about preparations for them. We can see Sochi transforming into a real capital of the Russian barrier-free environment. Number of ramps, accessible crossings and adapted vehicle transport in the city is growing rapidly. All sports venues of the Mountain and Coastal Clusters are being constructed according to accessibility requirements and are fully adapted for the Paralympic athletes’ needs, this has already been proven by the "Paralympic" Test Events season. The barrier-free environment in Sochi is already prepared to host the Paralympic Games. But probably the most important is that the Games in Sochi are breaking down stereotypes towards people with disabilities which still exist in Russia, and are already changing the lives of 13 million Russians for the better”.