The XI Paralympic Winter Games

The XI Paralympic Winter Games (from March 7 to March 16 2014) will be celebrated in Sochi.

The nature of Sochi is unique. It combines warm sea and snow-covered mountains. Having a humid subtropical climate, Sochi will be the warmest city to have ever hosted Winter Olympic Games. The competitions will be held both in the mountains and on the coast.

The Paralympic Winter Games are the events on an international scale. More than 750 Paralympic athletes and team members from 45 countries will take part in the Games. During the Games 72 sets of medal will be awarded in 6 Paralympic sports.

The official mascots of Paralympics in Sochi are the Snow-flake and the Ray. According to the legend they are strangers from another planet. They don’t look like one another and people on the Earth. But this dissimilarity doesn’t prevent them from finding new friends and going in for sports. They help everybody discover new possibilities for themselves. Together they symbolize the harmony of opposites.

Paralympics have their own values which describe the character of the Games. They have a great meaning for all the sportsmen. There are four main Paralympic values. The first one is courage. It is always needed to take the first step. To play sport people with disabilities also need great courage. It helps them overcome all obstacles and win. The second value is determination. It helps people train day after day, endure pain and achieve their goals in spite of all. Inspiration is the third value. It helps poets write poems, scientists make great discoveries and Paralympic sportsmen win victories. And the last one is equality. It is one of the main Paralympic values because Paralympic sport removes borders and barriers between ordinary people and people with disabilities. All people are different but all of us are equal.

The symbol of the games consists of three semi spheres in red, blue and green colours. They are called Agitos (which is Latin for «I move»). This emblem symbolizes Mind, Body and Spirit. «Spirit and Motion» is the motto for the Paralympic movement. The Paralympic Games were designed to emphasize the participants` athletic achievements, not their disability. We admire their wish to win. The achievements of our Paralympic athletes have always been a source of great national pride. At the last Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver our national team won 38 medals and took the first honourable place in unofficial team record. Here are some of our champions in winter sports:

Irec Zaripov, Maria Iovleva , Kirill Mihailov, Anna Burmistrova, Mihalina Lysova We will support our champions in Sochi.

In real life people with disabilities meet different barriers which prevent them from living eventful and full blooded life. There are different kinds of barriers : physical (stairs, heavy doors); informational (they can`t read books, use the internet); stereotypes (sometimes people are afraid of them and consider them miserable).

Paralympic Games in Sochi are not only a sporting event. Nowadays a barrier-free environment is being created in Sochi. All guests, spectators and sportsmen with disabilities will enjoy comfort. It will become an example for other regions of the Russian Federation. He Sochi Paralympic Games will provide the opportunity for attracting public attention to the problems faced by over 13 million people with disabilities living in Russia today. We also can help people with disabilities and make our own contribution to the creation of the barrier-free environment. A special site «kartadostupnosti» was launched in 2012. Its address is [email protected]. This map will collect all the objects of barrier-free environment in Russia, descriptions and photos of comfortable buildings and streets for disabled people with disabilities.