The International Paralympic Committee: Sochi Becomes the First Point on Russian Accessibility Map
During the celebrations around the countdown of 1,000 days to go to the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, it has been announced that Sochi is to become the first city in Russia to be put on the Russian Accessibility Map.
The Russian Accessibility Map is an innovative project by the Sochi2014 Organizing Committee, whose main objective is to provide sport facilities to people with an impairment within walking distance, as well as informing them of such barrier-free elements as ramps, supporting rails, nonslip coating, etc., located in the vicinity of their houses.
The unique aspect of this Project lies in the fact that the first Russian map of Paralympic sports institutions and barrier-free environment facilities will be based on the data mailed by Russian citizens to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thus everyone will be able to support the Paralympic Movement and help change the country’s attitude to people with an impairment, giving them an opportunity to live a full and happy life without barriers and stereotypes.
Celebrations around 1,000 days to go to the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi were hosted by Sochi 2014 volunteer centers. Thousands of Sochi 2014 volunteers took part in scores of events mainly aimed at drawing the attention of Russian society to the problems of disabled people, and personally supporting such basic Paralympic values as courage, equality, dedication and inspiration. The winding of the innovative timepiece in Sochi started the countdown to the Paralympic Winter Games opening. This symbolic event was overseen by Mikhail Terentiev, the Secretary General of the Russian Paralympic Committee.
The 1,000-days-to-go festivities were hosted by 14 Russian cities, namely Sochi, Moscow, Krasnodar, Ufa, Novorossiysk, Pyatigorsk, Volgograd, Tver', Arkhangelsk, Saint Petersburg, Khanty Manssiysk, Omsk, Tomsk, and Kazan.
In Tomsk, Moscow, Sochi, Omsk and Kazan, a series of Paralympic lessons were conducted. Volunteers from Kazan State Technological University taught children with impairments in one of the summer camps. The lesson focused on the history of the Paralympic Games, the Paralympic Movement values and the prospects and opportunities for children to participate in Paralympic sports.
Volunteers from Volgograd, Khanty Manssiysk, Moscow, Arkhangelsk and Sochi staged an event called «1,000 wishes to Paralympians». For this, the «best wishes» of residents and guests of Arkhangelsk were collected by volunteers from the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, and will be used to make up a 5-minute documentary to be presented later to the Russian Paralympic Team.
Another symbolic event in the course of the festive campaign was the launch of the Accessible Volunteering Program aimed at making Sochi 2014 volunteering Centers accessible for people with disabilities. Four such centres were established on 11 June — two centres in Moscow, one in Sochi and another one in Novorossiysk.
Moscow and Sochi were the two core festival cities. In Moscow, the Ambassadors of the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad, the Musical Theater Domisolki, gave a charity concert for children and youths affected by vertebral injuries and by cerebral spastic infantile paralysis, and Sochi 2014 Ambassador, Paralympic Swimming champion Olesya Vladykina, conducted a Paralympic lesson.
Volunteers of the Russian State Social University organized a Flash Mob of Equal Opportunities in Sochi. Lining up in a formation of the Paralympic Symbol, they released hundreds of balloons as a sign of their commitment to the Paralympic Movement in Russia.
The wheelchair relay was one of the most impressive events over the 1,000 days before the Paralympic Games in Sochi. Anatoly Pakhomov, the City of Sochi Mayor, and Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Organizing Committee Sochi 2014 were among the participants of this festive race.
The first day of the Countdown saw the appearance of officials and creative groups, master classes conducted by Paralympians, where everyone could familiarize themselves with the Paralympic outfit. Moreover, the Paralympic mascots Sunny Boy and Snow Girl organized children’s quiz games.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Organizing Committee said: «On 11 June, there were only 1,000 days left before the Paralympic Winter Games, and we started the countdown up to this historic event for Russia. This event is destined to bring about radical change in the attitude of Russian society towards people with an impairment. I am especially happy that our wonderful volunteers gave momentum to the celebration. They are the proof that, thanks to the Games, we have been training people qualified to support and assist the disabled.
«I am happy that on 11 June thousands of Russians joined the festivities, since the basic values of Paralympic Movement, such as courage, equality, dedication and inspiration, are close to everyone’s heart!»