MEDAL QUEST dropped in today at the official first press conference of Sochi 2014, a chance for Russian organizers to discuss what they called “barrier-free standards for the whole of Russia.” This would be huge for any host country, but especially for Russia, which hasn’t had a strong record on accessibility. In fact Russia (then the Soviet Union) did not even host a Paralympic Games after the 1980 Olympics.
· All 45 national teams have arrived in Russia, a record for the Winter Games. That includes Ukraine’s team, although it’s still not clear if they will withdraw before tomorrow’s Opening Ceremonies.
· 547 -- the total number of athletes expected -- is also a Paralympic Winter Games record.
· Around 60 countries will broadcast the Paralympics, including new broadcasters NHK Japan, Rede Globo Brazil, and NBC USA.
USA Hockey’s Josh Pauls, who was part of the press conference, talked with ICE WARRIORS about being back at the Paralympics, what was different from Vancouver, and how awesome the Shayba Arena will be for the sled hockey competition. Here’s Josh: