Nearly 50 elite Canadian athletes are arriving in Sochi this week ahead of the Paralympic Winter Games.
These will be the largest-ever Paralympic Winter Games, with Sochi playing host to close to 600 athletes from 45 countries. Some 8,000 volunteers are expected to provide support.
Canadians athletes are hoping to repeat their success from the Vancouver Games, where the team placed third in the gold medal counts after winning 19 medals, 10 of them gold.
Canada has also announced its official flag-bearer for the games, wheelchair curler Sonja Gaudet. Gaudet is a two-time Paralympic gold medalist and the most decorated wheelchair curler in the world.
“I am so excited to enter the stadium at the opening ceremony with my Canadian wheelchair curling team mates and to be representing all of my fellow Canadian Paralympic athletes here at the Games and across Canada,” Gaudet said. Her comments were reported on paralympic. org, the official website of the paralympic movement.
“I hope to lead by example and send a message of ability and not disability. And that it’s not about what’s missing, it’s about what’s there.”
The six disciplines in the Sochi Paralympic are:
• Para-alpine skiing
• Para-Nordic skiing
• Sledge hockey
• Wheelchair curling
Four of the six disciplines have been targeted by the federal government’s Own the Podium program to help elite Canadian athletes medal in their events. Ottawa has provided $12 million in funding for Paralympic athletes since the Vancouver Games.
Coverage of the Paralympic Games has been weak in the past, but this year’s broadcast is an improvement with unprecedented levels of coverage available on television and web.
The games run from Mar. 7 to Mar. 16. A complete broadcast schedule and further details are available here.
All images courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee.