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Alpine Skiing

Marie Bochet bags her third alpine skiing gold

France and Russia fared well in the super-combined races at Sochi 2014.

Marie Bochet skiing past a gate France's Marie Bochet competes in the women's super-G portion of the super-combined standing event on Day 7 of Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By Justin A. Rice | For the IPC

"The best part about winning all the medals was yesterday when president Putin himself congratulated us and not just on the gold, the silvers too.”

France’s Marie Bochet returned to the podium on Friday (14 March) at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre to claim her third gold of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

After stumbling for the first time in Sochi in the women’s slalom standing race on Wednesday (12 March) – dashing her hopes of sweeping all five alpine event – Bochet who already won gold in downhill and super-G, got back on track by winning gold in the women’s super-combined standing event.

"The failure on Wednesday wasn't easy to chase from my mind,” she said. “It made me think a lot. Today I came back stronger, with more confidence. It is always a special motivation to compete after a bad day."

Bochet finished the super-G portion of the event on Friday with a time of 1:24.91 to record an overall super-combined time of 2:18.39. Andrea Rothfuss of Germany took silver (2:22.74) and the USA’s Stephanie Jallen (2:23.13) was third.

Adding to the Russian gold rush in Sochi, Aleksandra Frantceva topped her second alpine podium on Friday, while Alexey Bugaev won his second gold in as many days and Valarii Redkozubov won gold in the men’s super-combined visually impaired class.

Bugaev, 16, won the super-combined on Fridayna day after winning the men’s standing slalom, while Frantceva won her fourth medal of the Paralympics with a gold in the women’s visually impaired super-combined.

"The best part about winning all the medals was yesterday when president Putin himself congratulated us and not just on the gold, the silvers too,” said Frantceva, who is guided by Pavel Zabotin. “It was very special.”

Frantceva won with a time of 2:27.75, while Great Britain’s Jade Etherington (2:28.38) finished second and Danelle Umstead of the USA (2:42.09) was third.

In the men’s super-combined, Bugaev won with a time of 2:09.72 while Austria’s Matthias Lanzinger (2:10.82) finished second and Toby Kane (2:14.14) finished with the bronze to pick up Australia’s first medal of the Games.

Redkozubov won in the men's visually impaired class with a time of 2:15.87, beating out the USA’s Mark Bathum by 1.51 seconds on the final run of the event. Spain’s Gabriel Juan Gorce Yepes took home the bronze after clocking 2:20.36.

Germany’s Anna Schafflelhuber picked up her fourth gold of the Games, winning the women’s sitting super-combined in 2:33:30.

Schaffelhuber’s teammate Anna-Lena Forster took silver in the event on Friday with a time of 2:38.96.

In the men’s super-combined sitting race, Canada’s Josh Dueck won gold with a time of 2:18.20. USA’s Heath Calhoun (2:19.09) took silver and Roman Rabl (2:20.20) of Austria was third.

Rabl led the standings after the slalom portion of the race while Dueck and Calhoun were not in medal position going into Friday.

Marie Bochet

Marie Bochet

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Paralympic Closing Ceremony to show the impossible is possible

Sochi 2014 will come to a close on Sunday evening with spectacular Closing Ceremony.

The Soch 2014 Closing theme will be Reaching the Impossible The Soch 2014 Closing theme will be Reaching the Impossible © • Sochi 2014
By Sochi 2014

The Closing Ceremony of Russia’s first ever Paralympic Winter Games will take place at the Fisht stadium on Sunday (16 March), illustrating to the world how the Games have proven the seemingly impossible is possible.

The thrilling show is titled “Reaching the Impossible" and will celebrate the magnificent achievements of Paralympic athletes, who have shown the world the impossible is possible through strength of spirit and a relentless pursuit of sporting victory.

Aleksey Chuvashev, a rowing Paralympian and medalist at London 2012 will be a central hero of the Ceremony. Demonstrating the wonders of strength and courage, during a section of the Ceremony, he will climb a rope with only his hands to a height of 15 metres.

The Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony team is led by Head Creative Director Konstantin Ernst and Executive Producer Andrei Nasonovsky, supported by Artistic Director Lida Castelli, Associate Director Doug Jack, and producer of Olympic and Paralympic Games’ Ceremonies Marco Balich.

To the backdrop of the music by Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, the Ceremony will be opened by memorable choreographed pieces performed by members of the Russian Wheelchair Dance Sport Federation together with trapeze artists in distinctive illuminated costumes, who form abstract shapes in the air. This segment is produced by the creative duo of Konstantin Vasiliev, coach of world and European champions in wheelchair dance sport, and Phil Hayes, world-renowned aerial choreographer.

A key theme in the buildup and staging of the Paralympic Winter Games, the Closing Ceremony will once again showcase the principle of inclusiveness in action. Among the top performers on the night will be renowned tenor Jose Carreras, Russian singers Nafset Chenib and Diana Gurtskaya, conductor Aleksey Petrov, pianist Oleg Akkuratov and a dance troupe of 210 Cossacks directed by a choreographer Nikolay Kubar.

Over 460 artists, who for the past months have been working hard rehearsing, will take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

The performance is filled with impressive music, breathtaking choreography, original view and vivid visual displays.

Proud Paralympian Picture of the day - 12 March

Proud Paralympian Picture of the day - 12 March

Russia’s 16-year-old Alexey Bugaev wins third medal

The teenaged Russian skier delighted home crowds with a consistent performance, in challenging conditions.

Alexey Bugaev passes a slalom pole in a race in a tilted position Russia's Alexey Bugaev competes in the men's slalom standing on Day 6 of Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By IPC

“The slope is very steep and bumpy at the top. So I adapted my technique on a case-by-case basis depending on the conditions. It feels great to win.”

Despite showing obvious signs of fatigue and in difficult course conditions, Russia’s Alexey Bugaev managed to clinch gold in the men’s slalom standing race on Thursday (13 March) in 1:38.97, adding to the downhill silver and super-G bronze he already won at Sochi 2014.

Light rain and slushy conditions, combined with a very steep start, made for a very challenging course.

“I did my best and it wasn’t really easy,” the 16-year-old admitted.

“The second run was much more difficult for me than the first. I was tired and all this pressure made me so nervous.”

His teammate Alexander Alyabyev (1:30.74) won bronze. France’s Vincent Gauthier-Manuel, the reigning world champion, was just half a second ahead, to take silver.

“Bugaev is amazing,” said Gauthier-Manuel. “He is very strong when he is supported by the public like that.

“He reminds me a bit of myself when I was the same age. He arrived here like an outsider and he hid his game well.

“Now I’m going to do everything to beat him in giant slalom.”

In the visually impaired class, Valerii Redkozubov guided by Evgeny Geroev delighted home crowds with gold, having led from the first run. The bronze medallist from the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships had a decisive victory, finishing in 1:43.21 - 3.61 seconds ahead of silver medallists Jon Santacana Maiztegui guided by Miguel Galindo Garces.

“There’s a tornado inside of me full of positive emotions,” Redkozubov said. “We have worked really hard for this. It was a very long, traumatic road that required much strength and hard work.

“One thing that helped us to win is the home support. I hope that something will change. Many people have read and seen about the Paralympic Games on TV and in the media.

“Hopefully it will change perceptions of people with an impairment.”

Santacana Maiztegui was seventh after the first run, but pulled out all the stops to take silver. The Spaniard has been fighting off a cold the past few days, and is recovering from an injury six months earlier in the season.

“I am not 100 per cent. Sometimes I’m in pain,” he said, before smiling and adding, “but now I’m not in pain.”

Canada’s Chris Williamson guided by Nick Brush picked up bronze in 1:48.51. Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Jakub Krako of Slovakia was in second place after the first run, but did not finish the second, after missing a gate.

After the first run, Croatia’s Dion Sokolovic, who had his first IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup win earlier this year in St. Moritz, Switzerland, was leading the men’s sitting event by a comfortable 1.61 seconds. But a lapse in concentration cost him his second run, allowing Japan’s Takeshi Suzuki to steal gold in 1:53.78.

“The slope is very steep and bumpy at the top,” said Suzuki. “So I adapted my technique on a case-by-case basis depending on the conditions. It feels great to win.”

World champion and bronze medallist from Vancouver, Philipp Bonadimann of Austria took silver in 1:56.46. His teammate Roman Rabl pulled out all the stops, to power his way to bronze in 1:56.64, after a fifth-placed first run.

Germany leads the alpine skiing medals table with four golds, and Russia are now in second place with three golds and Japan in third.

Alexey Bugaev

Alexey Bugaev

Marie Bochet looks to get back on track in super-combined

The super-G portion of the women's super-combined races across all classes will take place on Day 7 at Sochi 2014.

Marie Bochet France's Marie Bochet competes in the women's super-combined slalom portion at Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By Justin A. Rice | For the IPC

“We were first and foremost preparing for super-G, so it is not so difficult to switch to super-combined.”

After topping the leaderboard following the slalom portion of the super-combined on Tuesday (11 March), France’s Marie Bochet stumbled for the first time at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics in the women’s slalom standing race on Wednesday (12 March) — dashing her hopes of sweeping all five alpine events.

The 20-year-old, who has already won gold in downhill and super-G, looks to get back on track in the super-G portion of the super-combined at 14:00 (MSK) on Friday (14 March) at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

"Today I didn't have the level; other athletes did,” Bochet said on Wednesday. “Now I have to focus on the super-G of the super combined and to the giant slalom. … I feel a bit down now. It is going to be hard to swallow, but I don't want to worry too much. I still have two events to come.”

The slalom section of the women’s super-combined was run ahead of the super-G section of the race on Tuesday due to weather conditions, which also pushed the super-G section to Friday.

“We were first and foremost preparing for super-G, so it is not so difficult to switch to super-combined,” said USA’s Stephanie Jallen, who sits is in third place in the super combined standing class with a time of 57.98. “Super-combined is never an easy run. It's a battle getting down."

Bochet’s fall in the slalom allowed her chief rival, Andea Rothfuss of Germany, to win he fist Paralympic gold medal in a race that was moved to Wednesday because of the weather.

The 24-year-old is also in second place in the super combined standings after posting a 55.86 in the slalom portion of the event on Tuesday.

In the women’s super-combined visually impaired class, Russia’s Aleksandra Frantceva (58.68) is in first while Great Britain’s Jade Etherington (1:01.80) is in second and the USA’s Danelle Umstead (1:08.48) is in third.

Germany’s Anna Schafflhubber is first in the women’s super-combined sitting standings with a time of 1:00.73 in the slalom portion while teammate Anna-Lena Forster (1:01.4) is second and Austria’s Claudia Loesch (1:05.12) is third.

In the men’s super-combined sitting standings Austria’s Roman Rabl is holding strong atop the leaderboard with a time of 58.71. Germany’s Thomas Nolte is in second with a time of 59.25 and Austria’s Philipp Bonadimanni is in third, having clocked a 59.42.

On the men’s super-combined standing leaderboard, Russia’s Alexey Burgaev is in first with a slalom time of 50.30 while Canada’s Braydon Luscombe stands in second with a time of 52.17 and Austria’s Matthias Lanzinger is in third after logging a 52.43.

Valerii Redkozubov set the groundwork for a podium position on Friday’s final race of the men’s super-combined slalom visually impaired class by clocking a time of 50.60, ahead of Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus (54.29) and Spain’s Gabriel Jaun Gorce Yepes (56.22).

"It is the first time something like that happened to me,” Gorce Yepes said of the break between the first and second components of the super combined. “I like it, because now I can just forget my performance in the slalom, and then have time to focus on the super-G."

Marie Bochet

Marie Bochet

Schaffelhuber awarded gold after successful slalom appeal

German has now won three gold medals at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Anna Schaffelhuber of Germany Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber of Germany celebrates winning gold in the women's super-G sitting alpine skiing event on Day 3 of Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By IPC

Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber has been awarded the gold medal in the women’s slalom sitting event after a successful appeal against her disqualification.

Schaffelhuber, who has already won the downhill and super-G Paralympic titles so far in Sochi, was disqualified from her first run in Wednesday’s (12 March) slalom competition.

Under protest, she was allowed to complete her second run on Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday (13 March) morning, the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing Board of Appeal overturned the original disqualification for not having her outriggers in a stationary and fixed position at the start of the race.

The Appeal Board decided that Schaffelhuber had not gained a competitive advantage from her start and therefore should not have been disqualified.

As a result of the successful appeal, the results from Wednesday’s slalom sitting event are now official and the medallists are as follows:

• Gold: Anna Schaffelhuber 2:09.93

• Silver: Anna-Lena Forster (GER) 2:14.35

• Bronze: Kimberly Joines (CAN) 2:15.16

The medals will be presented on Thursday (13 March) at 18:00 MST at the Rosa Khutor Medals Plaza.

A full written decision will be issued in due course.