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  • Press Release: Sochi 2014 a gateway to children with disabilities through high-tech Joint Information Center


    Russian Paralympic champion, General Secretary of the National Paralympic Committee and Sochi 2014 Supervisory Board member, Mikhail Terentiev, today spoke via video link from Beijing to children with disabilities in the high-tech Sochi 2014 Joint Information Center in Sochi.

    Legendary Paralympian was speaking to raise awareness of the Paralympic Games and the potential of sport to help improve the lives of disabled children. The Sochi youngsters also showed Terentiev pictures of possible mascots they had created for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

    Alisa Erunova, a pupil from the Sochi Center for Social Aid for Family and Children, told the Paralympic star that she and her father had stayed up into the early hours of the morning in the main square in Sochi to listen to the 2014 Host City vote from Guatemala City last year. She said that she broke into tears when the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, announced that her home city of Sochi will host Russia's first ever Winter Games in 2014.

    The most popular question asked of Terentiev during the interactive session was about where children with disabilities can go to take part in sport. He said:

    Help and support are essential for people with disabilities, and particularly children. As a deputy of the State Duma, I will do everything possible to improve the conditions for disabled people in Russia. Moreover, the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi are a powerful opportunity to develop barrier-free infrastructure and improve the social conditions of people with disabilities."

    Mikhail Terentiev started ski jumping when he was 14 years-old, but suffered a thoracic spine injury when he was aged 16. After a challenging rehabilitation program, Terentiev earned a degree in Economics from Krasnoyarsk University and started participating in Paralympic sports. Soon, Terentiev became a Paralympic star, winning multiple gold, silver and bronze medals in Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon at the Paralympic Winter Games and World Cups.

    After my injury in 1986, I faced a problem with a lack of wheelchairs. My parents and my coach Irina Gromova helped me to get my life back on track and into sport. At first, I honestly didn’t believe that I could do it, but in the end, sport was my saviour."

    Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of Sochi 2014, said:

    I am privileged to know Mikhail Terentiev well and he is a very courageous person. He has had to overcome an incredible challenge that most people would never achieve. In spite of the difficulties he faced as a young person with a new disability, he achieved his goals as a sportsperson and is now a very important figure for Sochi 2014 and Russian public life. It’s a perfect example for the young generation.

    "Mikhail played a major role supporting our bid for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and he is now equally as important to their organization in Sochi. Like me, Mikhail is committed to Sochi 2014 being a festival of sport and friendship, but also a catalyst to deliver a tangible long-term legacy for Russian people and the Olympic Movement. We recognize that the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games has an essential role to play in helping the millions of people with disabilities in Russia to overcome the challenges they face and we will take this unique chance we have been granted." 

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