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2014 Paralympic Winter Games Open in Sochi

By Gary Sheftick
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 – The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games opened in Sochi, Russia, March 7 with a ceremony called "Breaking the Ice," honoring the strength of the human spirit.

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Fireworks erupt over Fisht Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, March 7, 2014. Photo courtesy of Sochi 2014

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army Staff Sgt. Jen Lee, a goalie for the USA sled hockey team, was among athletes at Fisht Olympic Stadium and the sports complex along the Black Sea where the closing of the XXII Olympic Winter Games took place last month.

At the Paralympics Opening Ceremony, spectators watched a two-hour performance about the power of the human spirit overcoming obstacles to limitless potential. Central to the story was a mythical firebird that linked all scenes of the show, which included 150 performers with physical impairments, along with popular Russian opera singers and entertainers.

The USA sled hockey team competed first against Italy, winning 5-1 on March 8. USA then went on to beat South Korea yesterday, 3-0.

NBC and NBC Sports Network will provide eight hours of sled hockey coverage, including Team USA vs. Russia at 3 p.m. EDT tomorrow on NBCSN. Live coverage of the semifinal games will air March 13 on NBCSN, with the first game beginning at 5 a.m. EDT and the second game at noon. The sled hockey final will air on NBC March 15 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Team USA is led by team captain Andy Yohe, who was a member of the USA squad that won gold in the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, B.C., and goaltender Steve Cash, who did not allow a single goal in five games in Vancouver.

The team also boasts four military veterans, including active duty soldier Lee, the back-up goalie, who are with the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.

Other veterans on the USA sled hockey team include Marine Corps veterans Paul Schaus and Josh Sweeney and Army veteran Rico Roman. All three are Purple Heart recipients.


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