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SBD Global/March 12, 2014/Olympics

Int'l Paralympic Committee President Craven Says Sochi Games Exceeding Expectations

Int'l Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven said on Tuesday that the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games "are on track to becoming the most successful ever," according to Ossian Shine of REUTERS. Craven said, "The Games are exceeding all expectations in every single area." The IPC said that more than 300,000 tickets "have been sold for the event so far, eclipsing the previous Winter Paralympic record of 230,000 sold in Vancouver four years ago." Craven: "The Russian crowds also deserve huge credit for making these Games a huge success." The organizers said that they had raised $95M from their marketing program, "a new record for a Paralympic Winter Games." Craven: "Companies are realizing the full value of a Paralympic partnership, whilst broadcasters are delighted at the sensational pictures provided by OBS (Olympic Broadcast Service) and the inspirational stories from athletes that they can provide their viewers with around the world" (REUTERS, 3/11). R-SPORT reported education programs in the run-up to the Paralympics "have emphasized the similarities between disabled people and the rest of society and presented them as athletes to be respected rather than victims to be pitied." The strategy "seems to have paid off." Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee VP Alexandra Kosterina said, "We had to educate a lot of people in the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic values." In Russia, "very little, if any live Paralympic sport had ever been broadcast until the first day of competition in Sochi on Saturday, forcing organizers to embark on a wide-ranging education program with events in cities across the country." Sochi 2014 Ticketing Dir Dmitry Perlin said, “That was a real challenge, I’ll be honest." Enthusiasm for the Paralympics "has especially taken root locally." Organizers said that 55% of the ticket sales "have come in Sochi itself" (R-SPORT, 3/11).

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