Vladimir Putin wished all participants in the Games success, noting that the Paralympians serve as an outstanding example to millions of people throughout the world.
Before the flag-raising ceremony, Vladimir Putin toured the Paralympic village. In particular, the President visited the clinical and diagnostics centre and saw the medical facilities and fitness centre for athletes with limited mobility. The President was accompanied by the mayor of the Paralympic mountain village, six-time Paralympic champion, seven-time world champion and four-time European champion in alpine skiing Sergei Shilov, who told Mr Putin about the conditions created in the Paralympic Village to provide a barrier-free environment.
The XI Winter Paralympic Games will be held in Sochi from March 7 to 16. Over 1,600 athletes and team members from 45 nations will be participating, and 72 sets of medals will be awarded. For the first time, Russians will perform in all five Paralympic sports. The Russian national team has 69 athletes. Thirty-two of these athletes will be participating in the cross-country skiing and biathlon events, 12 in alpine skiing, three in wheelchair curling, and 17 in ice sledge hockey.