Huffpost Sports

Sochi Paralympics Opening Ceremony Goes On With Vladimir Putin, Fireworks (PHOTOS)

Posted: Updated:
PARALYMPICS
Fireworks erupt during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Fisht Olympic Stadium on March 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. | Dennis Grombkowski via Getty Images

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened the Winter Paralympics in Sochi against the backdrop of his country's military action in Crimea.

During the athletes' parade, the 23-strong Ukrainian team was represented by a lone flagbearer in an apparent protest at the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. The appearance of the flagbearer, biathlete Mykhaylo Tkachenko, drew a roar from the crowd.

The Ukrainian team only announced earlier in the day that it would not boycott the games, but said it could pull out if the Crimea situation escalates.

A lavish ceremony based on the mythical firebird of Russian folklore marked the start of the 11th Winter Paralympics, a 10-day event featuring 547 athletes from 45 countries.

Putin stood at a microphone in front of a capacity crowd at the Fisht Olympic Stadium and announced: "I declare open the Winter Paralympic Games 2014, Sochi."

Also on The Huffington Post

Close
PHOTOS: 2014 Paralympics Opening Ceremony
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Paralympics opening ceremony begins in Sochi

Shadow of Ukraine looms large as Paralympians prepare to compete

Sonja Gaudet to carry flag at Paralympics opener

Sochi Paralympics Opening Ceremony 2014 live stream: Watch online

Soprano and accordion virtuoso to perform at Sochi 2014 Paralympic Opening ...

Jon Lujan Named US Flag Bearer For Opening Ceremony Of Sochi 2014 ...

Sochi Paralympics 2014: Vladimir Putin to attend opening ceremony

Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski to host Paralympic Opening Ceremony party

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Arrives in Sochi ahead of Opening Ceremony

Putin to Attend Paralympic Opening Ceremony

 
Top Medal Winners
1 Russia 13 11 9
2 United States 9 7 12
3 Norway 11 5 10
4 Canada 10 10 5
5 Netherlands 8 7 9
6 Germany 8 6 5
Latest Medal Results
Ice Hockey - Men
Canada
Sweden
Finland
Bobsleigh - Four-man
Russia
Latvia
United States
Cross-Country - Men's 50km Mass Start Free
Russia - Alexander Legkov
Russia - Maxim Vylegzhanin
Russia - Ilia Chernousov
© STATS LLC 2014.
From Our Partners