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  • Final Act for Vancouver Winter Sports Festival


    03/21/10

    Nourth Vancouver's Lauren Woolstencroft on her way to five gold medals.(Getty Images)
    Final Events, Russia Tops Medals Table
     
    Cross country skiing, with six medals at stake, and the closing ceremony, all in Whistler, are on the schedule for Sunday. Alpine events that had been scheduled for the final day were moved ahead to Friday and Saturday to avoid weather issues.

    Heading into the final day of competition, Russia leads the medals table with 30, followed by Germany at 23, Canada with 18, Ukraine 17, and the U.S. with 13. In all, 21 of the 44 nations competing in the 2010 Winter Paralympics won at least one medal.

    North Vancouver skier Lauren Woolstencroft is the hometown star of the Paralympics. She is the first standing alpine skier in Paralympic history to sweep gold medals in the five disciplines, a record set Saturday when she won the super combined. Woolstencroft was born without legs beneath her knees and a left forearm.
     
    One doping case emerged as the Games close. Swedish wheelchair curling skip Glenn Ikonen is disqualified for testing positive for a blood pressure medicine on the International Paralympic Committee prohibited substances list.
    I wasn't trying to hide anything," Ikonen, 54, tells the Vancouver Sun.

    "Before I left Sweden I told my doctor I didn't want to take anything that would not be approved. Of course I'm disappointed that he didn't know. I trusted my doctor."I would never take anything that I thought was illegal for sports,” he is quoted in the Sun.

    The IPC could ban him for two years.

    Closing Ceremony in Whistler Village

    Vancouver 2010 will go out with a bang as 9,000 pieces of fireworks will explode over Whistler Village at the climax of the 90-minute Paralympic closing ceremony.

    The cauldrons in Whistler and Vancouver will be simultaneously extinguished near the end of the pageant, which will air live on CTV across Canada.

    The weather forecast is for periods of snow mixed with rain.

    “It's
    Six medal events are on the calendar for the last day of the Winter Paralympics. (Getty Images)
    not bad weather, it's just bad clothing choice,” joked VANOC producer Patrick Roberge.

    “With glowing hearts, we will persevere whatever the weather. What would be great is just a little dusting of snow, that would make the show look spectacular."

    “Our theme is very appropriate, 'With Glowing Hearts,” Roberge said. “This is not only the closing of the Paralympics but the final ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Games in its entirety.”

    Quebec folk group La Bottine Souriante, Winnipeg singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk and Nunavut throat singer Tanya Tagaq will perform. Wheelchair athlete Kelly
    The U.S. sledge hockey team. (Getty Images)
    Smith will be tossed more than 40 feet in the air during a demonstration of an Inuit blanket toss.

    Sochi Takes Its Turn

    The Paralympic flag will be passed from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed to Anatoly Pakhomov, mayor of 2014 Winter Games host Sochi, Russia, via International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven.

    Russian Paralympic swimming gold medalist Olesya Vladykina and Nagano 1998 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Illa Kulik will perform a skating routine during a segment promoting Sochi.

    “We will be honored to host the 2014 Winter Paralympics,” Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko tells Around the Rings.

    “For two months now we have had our team of blue jackets in Vancouver to learn from this experience,” he says, referring to the Sochi observers dressed in the blue uniforms worn by Olympic and Paralympic staff.

    Chernyshenko says the 2014 Paralympics will be an event that will help lead to improvements nationwide that will benefit the estimated 13 million people in Russia who have some form of disability.
     

    With reporting from Bob Mackin in Vancouver and Ed Hula in Atlanta. For general comments or questions, click here.

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