Winter Paralympic Games, Sochi
7-16 March 2014
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games opened on Friday 7 March at Fisht Stadium in the Olympic Park, as 547 athletes from 45 countries arrived for nine days of competition across five sports. Over the next nine days, these 547 athletes will compete for 72 sets of medals across five sports in what is the first ever Paralympic Winter Games held in Russia. With a theme of “Breaking The Ice,” the Opening Ceremony evoked the spirit of Russia and the importance of breaking down barriers and stereotypes faced by people around the world every day. Pop singer Yulia Samoylova entertained the crowd with stunning vocals later on in the evening, as 300 ice fisherman painted patterns across the stage. Opera singer Maria Guleghina sang to the audience on a giant ship as passed through the entire stadium, signifying breaking down barriers and tracing new paths for mankind.
The Ceremony culminated with a cast of more than 1,000 torchbearers celebrating the arrival of the Paralympic Torch in the stadium and a spectacular fireworks display erupted across the Olympic Park. In Sochi there were two paralympic villages: the Coastal village situated next to the Black sea and the Mountain Village high up in the mountains. The Sochi paralympic mascots are Ray of the Light and Snowflake.
Laura Valeanu was placed 5th place in the slalom and 7th place at the Giant Slalom at the Paralympic Games in Sochi in March 2014, an extraordinary result for Romania. These are the best results ever obtained at alpine skiing at a major competition by a Romanian. (The only medal won at an Olympic Games was at Grenoble in 1968 when Ion Panturu and Nicolae Neagoe won the bronze medal at the boblseigh event. Four years later in 1972 Pantaru with Ion Zangor were placed 5th in the bobsleigh event).