On Tuesday 6 November, PwC Russia held a ‘Paralympic Town Hall’ event at its Moscow office in cooperation with the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee. The event was an opportunity for PwC employees to learn about and be inspired by the Paralympic movement.
Attendees were treated to four inspirational guest speakers: US Paralympic athelete Chris Waddell (12-time ski medal winner over four Paralympic Games) and Russian Paralympic athletes Olesya Vladykina (Sochi 2014 Ambassador, and 2008 and 2012 swimming champion), Sergey Shilov (Sochi 2014 Ambassador and six-time cross-country ski champion) and Ivan Goncharov (Sochi 2014 Our Champion project participant, and two-time cross-country ski and biathlon medalist).
The athletes spoke about the Paralympic movement and legacy, as well as what is being done to prepare Russia for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. They shared their stories and captivated the audience with insights into the sources of their drive and motivation.
Olesya Vladykina gave listeners an overview of the Paralympic movement. She described her recent experiences at London 2012 and the positive spirit and sense of excitement that characterises the Paralympic Games.
Ivan Goncharov talked about how the city of Sochi is being transformed in preparation for the Games. He explained what it means for a venue to be 'barrier-free' and how important accessibility is for people with disabilities. He went on to describe the Accessibility Map (www.kartadostupnosti.ru), a crowd-sourced internet project to identify barrier-free locations around Russia.
Sergey Shilov highlighted the issues faced by people with disabilities in Russia and collective hopes that the Sochi 2014 Paralympic movement will alleviate these for the benefit of Russia as a whole.
American Chris Waddell, one of the all-time great Paralympic ski champions, was the keynote speaker for the session. Chris gave examples which demonstrated how far the Paralympics has come over the years, with increased visibility and Paralympic athletes now enjoying a stature similar to that of Olympic athletes. He spoke about his inspirational climb of Mt Kilimanjaro with the message of resilience and overcoming the limitations we put on ourselves.
According to Bob Gruman PwC Russia Advisory Leader and Global Relationship Partner for the Olympic Movement, the Town Hall offered a fascinating new insight into the world of Paralympic champions. “PwC is grateful to our guests for generously giving their time to speak to us and for offering us these perspectives,” he said. “As Partner and the Official Professional Services provider to the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we are proud to support the Paralympic movement and believe that it’s a significant opportunity for Russia as a whole.”