17 March 2014, 12:56

Russian Paralympics: all records broken

Russian Paralympics: all records broken

The 11th Winter Paralympics have drawn to a close. The closing ceremony was held at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Adler, near Sochi, on March 16th . Team Russia has beaten their own previous world record in the number of medals grabbed during Paralympics by the athletes of one country. Austrians won 70 medals in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck. Team Russia won 80 medals during the Sochi Paralympics, specifically 30 gold medals, 28 silver medals and 22 bronze medals. Russia is followed by Germany with 15 medals, including 9 gold medals.

Russians won 38 medals, all in ski races and biathlon competition, during the previous Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010. This time, Russian Paralympic ski racers and biathletes won 62 medals. Alpine skiers contributed 16 more medals, including 6 gold medals. Russian curling athletes and sledge-hockey players won silver medals, to make up for the Russian fans’ bad mood following the poor performance of the Russian Olympic ice hockey team. Ski racer and biathlete Roman Petushkov of the city of Dmitrov, near Moscow, won the greatest number of medals, namely six gold medals, for Team Russia.

Foreign reporters repeatedly tried to make Russian Paralympians and their coaches reveal a certain secret behind their stunning performance. The winner of two gold medals, the Russian team’s banner-bearer during the opening ceremony, Valery Redkozubov, chose to frankly answer the reporters’ questions.

“We have won so many medals, because we, the Russians, most of all love our Motherland, this is some sort of subconscious love. Now, Russian Paralympians are the strongest, because we have harsh living conditions compared to those in Europe”.

The Paralympics’ main result for Russians is not the total score in points or seconds, but the change in attitude towards people with physical impairment. According to the Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, Paralympic sports in Russia are enjoying impressive resurgence.

“While we’ve been preparing for the Sochi Paralympics in the past three years, we’ve seen the number of disabled people involved in sports grow twice. 3.5% of Russians are currently practising sports. We are opening 45 sports schools for disabled children. You have seen Russian Paralympics winners come from Tyumen, Khanty-Mansiysk, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Moscow Region, Udmurtiya, Bahkortostan. Today’s achievements will positively affect both the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the future”.

It is the first time that Russia has hosted Paralympic Games. Never before have Russian Paralympians had a chance to rely on such a powerful support of their own fans. The Russian Paralympians’ wonderful performance made it possible for all Russians to feel proud of their country and feel deep respect for Paralympic sports.

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