The Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada, was sold out. 60,000 people watched the parade of nations, and 230,000 tickets were sold for the competitive events, a new record for the Paralympics. Russia took first place in the total medal count by a huge margin, and narrowly missed first place in gold medals.
Russia is hosting the 2014 Paralympics, so one might expect an amazing new ticket sales plateau to be reached. Radio Free Europe reports, however, that this is far from being the case:
Tickets for the Games went on sale last week. But despite their comparatively low price and the strong showing of Russia’s Paralympic team in the 2012 London Games, officials themselves are warning that this year’s event could generate only limited interest among Russians. The head of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Mikhail Terentyev, said there were “significant concerns” that the competition would not attract enough spectators to fill Sochi’s vast new stadiums.
RFE reports that Russia remains a hellish nightmare for disabled people. In order to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia was forced to host the Paralympics as well, and in turn was forced to make the Winter Olympics venues fully accessible. But this hasn’t meant that Russia has done anything to improve the lives of its own disabled citizens at all.
Will Russia disgrace itself by leaving the Paralympic venue halls to stand empty?