IPC to host daily Google Hangouts with athletes during Sochi 2014

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February 27, 2014 (ISN) – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that it will host daily Google Hangouts with leading snow sport athletes during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, giving the public an opportunity to pose questions to their favourite Paralympians.

Starting at 17:00 (MSK) each day, prior to the victory ceremonies in Rosa Khutor, athletes will answer questions posted to them by members of the public during the day.

Leading snow sport athletes who have signed up to take part in the Google Hangouts include:

Alpine skiing

  • Marie Bochet (FRA) – won five world titles last year and will be aiming for her first Paralympic gold in her second Games
  • Michael Bruegger (SUI) – standing skier who has won five World Championship medals and was a downhill silver medallist at his fourth Paralympics in Vancouver
  • Kelly Gallagher (GBR) – visually impaired skier and winner of six World Championship medals who is targeting her first Paralympic medal at her second Games
  • Vincent Gauthier-Manuel – a five-time world champion who won two silvers and a bronze in Vancouver in 2010
  • Taiki Morii (JPN) – a three-time Paralympian who won three world titles last year
  • Andrea Rothfuss (GER) – standing skier who is preparing for her third Paralympics have previously won 13 world and five Paralympic medals
  • Markus Salcher (AUT) – has been in superb form in 2014 following up his two world titles in 2013
  • Jon Santacana (ESP) – two-time Paralympian and winner of seven world and two Paralympic titles in the visually impaired class
  • Takeshi Suzuki (JPN) – a three-time world champion sit-skier who at his second Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver won bronze in the giant slalom.

Para-snowboard

  • Bibian Mentel-Spee (NED) – World champion who was a clear winner in this year’s IPCAS World Cup
  • Amy Purdy (USA) – world No. 3 who will be looking to medal in Sochi
  • Evan Strong (USA) – ranked No. 1 in the world and finished second in this season’s IPCAS World Cup.

Nordic skiing

  • Kozo Kubo (JPN) – A winner one gold and two silver medals at last year’s World Championships who is competing in his second Paralympics in Sochi
  • Mariann Marthinsen (NOR) – a dual-sport athlete having competed at both the summer and winter Paralympics with some distinction
  • Nils-Erik Ulset (NOR) – Sochi will be his fourth winter Paralympics and he has previously won eight medals, including three golds

The Hangouts each day will be moderated by Spain’s three-time Paralympian Eric Villalon – a winner of nine Paralympic medals including five golds – and the USA’s two-time Paralympian Muffy Davis – a winner of four medals between 1998 and 2002.

Craig Spence, the IPC’s Director of Media and Communications, said: “This is all part of the IPC’s digital strategy to get fans closer to the athletes during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

“Each day, the public will be able to pose questions to the athletes in the Hangouts and also be able to catch up on any conversations they miss with videos on demand.”

Earlier this week, the IPC announced that 30 of the world’s top winter athletes will record exclusive behind the scenes video blogs at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in partnership with its Worldwide Paralympic Partner Samsung.

The project is part of Samsung’s Sochi 2014 Paralympic campaign: “Sport Doesn’t Care,” which highlights that everyone has problems in their lives to overcome, and that sport can help them do so.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from 7-16 March. Around 575 athletes from 45 countries will take part in 72 medal events across five sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling. Para-snowboard will make its Winter Games debut in Sochi, with two medal events included in the alpine skiing programme.

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