March 11, 2014 (ISN) – The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games may only just be approaching the halfway point but International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has already hailed them a huge success and stated they are “exceeding all expectations.”
The Games started last Friday (7 March) with a spectacular sold-out Opening Ceremony in the Fisht Stadium and have been followed by 28 medal events in the first three days of competition.
So far, more than 300,000 tickets have been sold – eclipsing the previous record of 230,000 sold in Vancouver four years ago – and a record 508 press and photographers are covering the Games.
Sir Philip Craven said: “The Games are exceeding all expectations in every single area.
“It was important that in Sochi we built on the success of London 2012 and, together with the organising committee, we are certainly doing that.
“The performances of the athletes have stepped up to a new level and the depth of talent now in all five winter sports is fantastic.
“The feedback from athletes is that they are having the time of their lives and that is showing in their performances.
“Ticket sales have been superb. To break the 300,000 barrier is sensational and I know the Organising Committee is working hard to try create extra capacity to cater for the huge demand for tickets.
“The Russian crowds also deserve huge credit for making these Games a huge success. Their vocal support has inspired the athletes and, what has pleased me the most, is that their support has not just been for Russian athletes but for athletes from all 45 countries.
“It’s the Paralympic effect in action. No matter where the Games go, they have an ability to transform sports fans into sports fans for all, supporting all sides and all athletes.
“We may only be at the halfway point but there is still so much to come, including the debut of para-snowboard on Friday (14 March).”
On Wednesday the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee announced that 76 countries and territories are showing the Games around the world and that it has raised USD$ 95 from the Paralympic marketing programme, a new record for a Paralympic Winter Games.
“For a Games to be successful it needs the full support of marketing partners and broadcasters and I’m pleased to see that this is the case in Sochi.
“Companies are realising the full value of a Paralympic partnership, whilst broadcasters are delighted at the sensational pictures provided by OBS and the inspirational stories from athletes that they can provide their viewers with around the world.
“The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games are on course to be the best and most successful ever.”
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will run through to Sunday 16 March. In total there will be 72 medal events across five sports – alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.