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Sochi 2014

CZE v ITA 5th place highlights | Ice sledge hockey | Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

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The game finished CZE 3- 0 ITA. To see the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games schedule, results, medals table and details of where to watch on TV, please visit http://www.paralympic.org. For details on Paralympic classification, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/classification

Bibian Mentel-Spee and Toby Kane recieve Whang Youn Dai Achievment Award

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Snowboarding’s first ever female Paralympic champion, the Netherland’s Bibian Mentel-Spee and Australia’s super-combined bronze medalist Toby Kane, have been named as the winners of the prestigious Whang Youn Dai award for exemplifying the spirit of the Paralympic Games through their performances at Sochi 2014.

The athletes will receive the award during the Closing Ceremony on Sunday (16 March).

Mentel-Spee has been instrumental in getting snowboard into the Games for the first time in Sochi whilst Kane has taken on a key leadership role within the Australian team during several set-backs in the lead-up to Sochi.

Mentel-Spee spoke of her delight at receiving the honour:

“I am overwhelmed with the fact that I have received the award and after winning my gold medal yesterday, this is even better.”

Kane, 27, competes in the men’s standing classification in alpine skiing, which in Sochi has seen one of the most competitive fields ever head out on the slopes of Rosa Khutor:

“I feel very proud to have been nominated by my National Paralympic Committee and I feel very proud and humbled to be nominated for an award about the Paralympic spirit.

“I’m very proud to have gone to three Paralympic Games, I’m a very proud Paralympian and I really believe in sport for people with a disability in terms of what it can show the world.”

Kane and Mentel-Spee were selected from a shortlist of six nominees by an independent panel of judges consisting of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board Members Andrew Parsons, Miguel Sagarra and Duane Kale. There were 25 nominations by National Paralympic Committee Presidents and Chef de Missions in total.

Parsons, the Vice President of the IPC, will present each athlete with a gold medal during the Closing Ceremony which has a theme of “reaching the impossible”.

The Whang Youn Dai Award has been presented to one male and one female athlete at every Paralympic Games since Seoul 1988, for overcoming adversity and putting the spirit of the Games into motion.

Bibian Mentel-Spee

Mentel-Spee was a successful able-bodied snowboarder well on her way to qualifying for Salt Lake City 2002 before losing her leg to cancer at the age of 27. Four months after the operation, the 41 year-old was back on her board, becoming Dutch national champion just seven months later.

In addition to her life as an athlete, Mentel-Spee was an integral part of the group of snowboarders who campaigned to include snowboard as a sport at the Paralympic Winter Games. The Dutch rider is also a mother and founder of the Mentelity Foundation which aims to get young people with impairments into sport and has started a snowboard team for athletes between the ages of 14-23.

On Friday 14 March 2014, Mentel-Spee became the first ever female snowboarding gold medalist at a Paralympic Winter Games.

Toby Kane

Kane has been skiing since he was five-years-old following a car accident which led to the amputation of his lower right leg at just the age of two. He was talent spotted at the age of 10 and became a regular in the Australian Paralympic team by 17.

He is studying medicine, following on from his experiences with healthcare in his early life, and is an ambassador for the Australian Paralympic Committee, giving talks and assisting with raising the profile of the Paralympic Movement in Australia.

Since the death of snowboarder teammate Matthew Robinson in February 2014 and other set-backs which have affected the team, Kane has stepped into a key leadership and support role in addition to focusing on his own competition.

To see the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games schedule, results, medals table and details of where to watch on TV, please visit http://www.paralympic.org For details on Paralympic classification, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/classification

Day 9 | Alpine skiing moment of the day | Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

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The best action from the final day of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. To see the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games schedule, results, medals table and details of where to watch on TV, please visit http://www.paralympic.org. For details on Paralympic classification, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/classification

Impressions of Sochi 2014

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As we say 'farewell' to the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games some of the athletes give us their impressions of these games.

Day 9 | Cross-country skiing moment of the day | Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games

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Russia's Vladislav LEKOMTCEV seals a superb individual games by helping Russia to another clean sweep in the cross country (this time the men's 10km free standing) Aleksandr PRONKOV 23:59.9 RUS Vladimir KONONOV 24:00.7 RUS Vladislav LEKOMTCEV To see the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games schedule, results, medals table and details of where to watch on TV, please visit http://www.paralympic.org. For details on Paralympic classification, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/classification

UNBELIEVABLE scenes from the closing ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games

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Some of the most memorable scenes from the amazing closing ceremony of the Sochi 2014 winter Paralympic Games.

INCREDIBLE cossack dance at the closing ceremony of Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games

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The stuinning Cossack dance at the closing ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.

Record-breaking Sochi 2014 Paralympics close in celebration of possibility

Sochi 2014 featured a spectacular Closing Ceremony showing the world the realm of possibilities.

Impossible 'I'm possible' is spelled using Tetris tiles during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony. © • Getty Images
By IPC

“Attitudes toward people with an impairment have changed among Russian society. The Paralympic Winter Games have become a catalyst for our efforts to create a barrier-free environment in Russia. The Games are over, but we promise that this important work will continue throughout our vast country.”

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games – which were record-breaking in terms of athletic performances, ticket sales and media coverage – came to an end on Sunday evening (16 March) at Fisht Stadium with a spectacular Closing Ceremony.

Through the theme of “Reaching the Impossible,” the Closing Ceremony illuminated how dreams can be achieved through strength and passion to change the perception of “impossible” to “I’m possible.”

IPC President Sir Philip Craven addressed the stadium during the Closing Ceremony, saying:

“The Paralympic Spirit has united and infected us all. Proud Paralympians – your inspirational athletic performances have redefined the boundaries of possibility.

“You have shown the world that absolutely anything is possible and that life is about amazing capabilities and not perceived deficiencies.

“With record numbers of highly enthusiastic spectators supporting you all, you have shown what real grit and determination looks like. Through record TV audiences and media coverage, you have opened up the eyes of the world to what the human spirit can achieve.”

The Closing Ceremony started with a group of wheelchair dancers moving gracefully across the field of play, joined by luminous aerialists overhead. All 30 Sochi 2014 gold medallists from the host nation carried the Russian flag into the stadium as the Russian State Children’s Chorus Assembly sang an a capella version of the national anthem.

Abstract artwork was brought to life by a centre stage cast of 462 performers dressed in bright colours who formed geometric shapes to display different images, including illustrations of various winter sports.

A man in a wheelchair then appeared on the scene, faced with the challenge of climbing a 15-metre rope. When he accepted the challenge and reached the top of the rope, he became a flying apostrophe between the letters ‘I’ and ‘M’ in ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ to create ‘I’M POSSIBLE,’ with a spectacular fireworks display celebration the transformation.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympics certainly showcased that motto, as Russia topped the standings with 30 golds and 80 total medals at the Games.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minster Dmitry Kozak spoke, saying: “These Games have gone far beyond sports competitions. They showed what people from different countries and nationalities different cultures and traditions are capable of when they are united by a single goal and an inspired dream.

“Attitudes toward people with an impairment have changed among Russian society. The Paralympic Winter Games have become a catalyst for our efforts to create a barrier-free environment in Russia. The Games are over, but we promise that this important work will continue throughout our vast country.”

Also in the Ceremony, the Whang Young Dai Award was presented to Australian alpine skier Toby Kane and Dutch snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee for not only achieving sporting excellence, but also for exemplifying the spirit of the Games by inspiring and exciting the world.

Norway’s Eskil Hagen, Finland’s Katja Saarinen and Russia’s Mikhail Terentiev were introduced as the new members of the IPC Athletes’ Council before the 8,000 Sochi 2014 Paralympic volunteers were recognised as heros of the Games. Soon after, a cast of performers in red, blue and green transformed the Paralympic Agitos into a giant heart, embracing 51 volunteers at its centre.

Visually impaired pianist Oleg Akkuratov played the Paralympic Anthem as the Paralympic Flag was lowered and passed on to the Mayor of PyeongChang before the South Korean flag was raised and the PyeongChang 2018 Games performers gave a magical performance.

An enchanting cast filled the stage for the Closing Ceremony finale, putting on a huge dance sequence that included four international voices – Jose Carreras –Nafset Chenib, Diana Gurtskaya and Valeriy Kozlovsky – and ended with a large fireworks display across the entire Olympic Park.

Impossible

Impossible

Sir Philip gives 'high five' to Sochi 2014 volunteers

The IPC President honoured all the Paralympic Winter Games volunteers during the Closing Ceremony.

IPC President Sir Philip Craven with Ekaterina and Elizaveta Gulina IPC President Sir Philip Craven with Ekaterina and Elizaveta Gulina, his assistants in Sochi during the Olympic and Paralympic Games © • Lieven Coudenys
By IPC

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on stage with the IPC President representing all the volunteers. We were delighted to accept even though we were very, very nervous.”

IPC President Sir Philip Craven has hailed the 8,000 volunteers who were instrumental in the success of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics by saying Die pyat volonteru – Russian for "high five" to the volunteers – during his closing ceremony speech.

On stage with Sir Philip during his address to receive "high fives" were volunteers Ekaterina and Elizaveta Gulina, twin sisters from Moscow who for the last six weeks have acted as the IPC President’s assistants in Sochi during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The 20-year-olds who are studying Business and Culture at the International University in Moscow, at first did not believe it when Sir Philip invited them to join him on stage during the ceremony.

“I thought he was kidding us.” explained Ekaterina. “Then all I wanted to do was call my mum and my friends and tell them the good news.

“My mum then told me to call our gran as she was kept looking out for us on TV during the Games.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on stage with the IPC President representing all the volunteers. We were delighted to accept even though we were very, very nervous.”

“I think the TV audience was probably huge as we called all our friends and told then to watch,” joked Elizaveta who added that by wearing the Sochi 2014 volunteers’ uniform it was relief not to have to worry about an outfit for her appearance on the world stage.

Like thousands of others, the twin sisters applied to be Sochi 2014 volunteers after being involved in a number of other major sporting events, including last year’s Universiade in Kazan, to gain valuable work experience.

They then first met Sir Philip at the 2013 Chef de Mission seminar and put forward their names to be his assistants during the Olympics and Paralympics.

“For the Olympics he was an IOC member, and then one week later he became the IPC President. But he never changed. He’s so relaxed and so easy to work with him. He’s very kind. We had no problems with him,” added Elizaveta