As temperatures in Sochi continue to rise, organizers made assurances Thursday that "there will be no problem with the snow at the Winter Paralympic Games that start Friday," according to R-SPORT. At the Krasnaya Polyana village where the alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions are to be held, the temperature rose to 14 degrees Celsius (57 F) on Thursday, and the forecasts indicated that the mini heatwave "won't let up anytime soon." Organizing Committee VP Alexandra Kosterina said, "We have strong contingency plans that had already been tested ahead of the Games, as we conducted a number of test events." It "is unclear if organizers dipped into the approximately half a million cubic meters of snow kept in storage during the Olympics" (R-SPORT, 3/6).
Int'l Paralympic Committee spokesperson Craig Spence said on Thursday that Ukraine "remains undecided over whether to boycott the Sochi Paralympics less than 48 hours before the Games begin." Spence said IPC President Philip Craven had held "a very long and productive meeting" Wednesday night with officials from the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee, but had so far failed to persuade them to commit to competing in Sochi. Spence said, "They are still weighing up their options as the situation changes back home" (R-SPORT, 3/6). ANSA reported Italian Olympic committee (CONI) Head Giovanni Malagò said on Wednesday the the decisions by the U.S. and Great Britain to boycott the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Paralympics amount to "political exploitation." Both countries "will participate in the Paralympics but have said they won't take part" in Friday's Opening Ceremony "to protest Russia's involvement in the crisis in Ukraine." Malagò said that "is wrongly mixing politics and sports." He said, "This is really exploiting not only the Olympics but the Paralympics (for political use)" (ANSA, 3/5).
Russian national hockey team coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov "is leaving his job after the home team's disappointing quarterfinals exit at the Sochi Olympics." The Int'l Ice Hockey Federation said that Russia "is looking for a new coach before the world championship in May in Belarus" (AP, 3/5). ... Doctors said that Russian freestyle skier Maria Komissarova "who was hospitalised after a serious accident at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games is permanently paralysed." The 23-year-old "is in a German clinic after suffering a fractured spine in a crash in training for the ski cross event at Sochi 2014, by far the worst accident of the Winter Games." Citing specialists at the German clinic, Russia's Freestyle Federation said, "Due to the severity of the injury, the functions of the spinal canal are not regenerating" (NEW ZEALAND NEWS, 3/6).