Sochi 2014 sledge hockey final


By Duncan Mackay and Nick Butler
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are Russian

до свидания!

23:00 We hope you will be able to join us again on another insidethegames blog at some point in the future, but for now it is goodbye at the end of a stunning festival of Olympic and Paralympic sport. 

22:50 But on that note it is time to wrap up the action from Sochi. We have certainly enjoyed it all and we hope you have as well. 

22:40 It seems along time ago now that we had sporting action on day nine, but we had a final set of 12 medals won earlier on today and, at the end of it all, Russia have duly stretched their lead at the top of the Sochi 2014 medals table, which can be seen here.

22:28 Some of the best pictures of the Closing Ceremony this evening - which sought to prove how Sochi 2014 has made the impossible possible.

The Closing Ceremony sought to prove that the impossible is possible ©Getty ImagesFireworks at the beginning of the Closing Ceremony ©Getty Images

The Paralympics Flag was passed to Pyeongchang at the end of the Ceremony ©Getty ImagesUkrianian flagbearer Lyudmyla Pavlenko enters the Stadium with the word peace written on her jumper ©Getty Images

Multi-coloured performers during the Closing Ceremony of Sochi 2014 ©Getty ImagesDancers perform in the Pyeongchang 2018 section of the Closing Ceremony ©Getty Images

It has been a wonderful six weeks of Olympic followed by Paralympic sport and - as Dmitry Kozak said tonight - it has shown that a New, modern and highly impressive Russia does exist - even if events in Ukraine over the same period has shown that the old one has not completely gone away.

So a sad moment as Sochi 2014 comes to a definitive end. The ship returns to the Fisht Stadium to mark the end to the Sochi 2014 Closing Ceremony ©Twitter

21:52 The music then belatedly stops and the Ceremony comes to an end. "See you again in Pyeongchang" cries the announcer.

21:50 The Flame is extinguished and as fireworks reverberate around the Sochi night sky, DJ Danny Za is keeping the music going inside the Stadium. 

The Paralympic Flame is eradicated to mark the end of the Ceremony ©Twitter

21:46 And now we are getting towards the finale - with a bubble world segment. And the ship is arriving into the Stadium again...

21:43 This section is entitled "Fire and Ice" For obvious reasons as drops fall into the Stadium.

21:37 He then declares the Games over - but not before a plea to join us again in four years time in Pyeongchang...

Sir Philip was joined on stage throughout his speech by twins Ekaterina and Elizaveta Gulina - who have worked with him for the last six weeks ahead of an during the Games. 

21:35 He continues by thanking the volunteers and then - doing what Thomas Bach notably didn't do - he declares these the greatest Paralympic Winter Games ever!

21:32 Sir Philip Craven begins by saying these Games are so "compelling" most people do not want them to stop. He makes a huge list of thank you's before saying that "the Paralympic spirit has affected us all and showed us that life is about limitless capabilities and not perceived inefficiencies."

The Flag being handed over the Pyeongchang 2018 ©Twitter

21:29 The Games have also provided an opportunity to see the new Russia "Hot Cool and Yours". "The time has come to say good bye but you are always welcome to Russia," are his concluding words. 

The applause is as loud as anything we have heard all evening, as Sir Philip Craven now delivers his address. 

21:27 The legacy and changes to attitudes regarding disabilities in Russia are also remarked upon before he praises security measures which have "largely gone unnoticed."

Unsurprisingly athletes and fans are also receiving praise. The greatest challenge is proving yourself, says Kazak in relation to Paralympic athletes, before adding that they have proved the "impossible is possible."

21:25 He thanks the entire team of Games organisers as well as everyone else who has contributed to the Games

He also thanks the residents for their "understanding and patience", without which the Games would not have been possible, before thanking all the investors for a project which has been "unprecedented in scale." 

21:22 In a break with protocol, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kazak is up first speaking instead of Sochi 2014 chief Dmitry Chernyshenko. "These Games have shown what people from different nationalities are capable of and they are united by a single goal and a shared dream," he begins.

He pays tribute to Sir Philip Craven and the IPC. "Sochi has been transformed into a year round tourist and business resort," he says to thunderous applause. 

21:21 The Pyeongchang 2018 section concludes with some sporting moments and up next are the two speeches. 

The beginning of the Pyeongchang 2018 section ©Twitter

21:18 Visually impaired soprano Cha Myung-yun is singing the song "Dream of PyeongChang'" which has been the theme song for PyeongChang 2018 from its bid phase.

She was joined by Lee A-reum, a visually impaired vocalist who focuses intensely on her dreams and is able to read people's feelings, and Park Jae-jung, the winner of the 2013 Superstar K5 competition, as well as the Gangneung Boy's and Girl's Choir.

21:16 The Pyeongchang segment is split into several acts. Up first is Seok Chang-woo, an artist with prosthetic arms, painting the shapes of the five Winter Paralympic sports on the Stadium floor.

He signs off the painting by writing, in English and Korea, "A Journey Together"

21:12 The South Korean national anthem and now it is the turn of Pyeongchang 2018...

The dance off during the Closing Ceremony ©Twitter

21:08 Then we have the Paralympic Anthem played by visually impaired pianist Oleg Akkuratov.

Twitter2Thank you to all the #Sochi2014 #Paralympics volunteers! You helped make this possible!
Canada's Paralympic team congratulate the 8,000 volunteers in Sochi...

21:04 The volunteers are involved in the latest dance segment. 51 of them making the words YPA - Russian for hooray! - across the Stadium. 

21:01 Not just the old and new but also the west and east that segment combined. This is maybe less spectacular than some of the other Ceremony's we have seen in Sochi, but it is brilliant choreographed and a lot of meaning behind each element. 

20:58 Cossack dancing is next on the agenda. 210 Cossack dancers joined by what were essentially Paralympic break dancers in another combination of old and new. More wheelchair back flips an tricks on crutches than I ever expected to see...

Flagbearers enter the arena during the Closing Ceremony ©Twitter

20:54 Snowboarding's first ever Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee and Australian skiing medallist Toby Kane are the two winners of the award which marks those who exemplify the spirit of the Games at Sochi 2014.

The award, presented to one male and one female athlete at every Paralympic Games since Seoul 1988, is being presented by Dr Whang Youn Dai and IPC vice president Andrew Parsons. 

Read more about it here.

20:51 The procession is completed by Kirill Mikhaylov of Russia. Now we have the presentation of the Whang Youn Dai award.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has attended both Opening and both Closing Ceremony's during Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

20:49 Each Flagbearer is going through very quickly. Josh Dueck of Canada who has added to his Paralympic gold medal winning haul in Sochi. 

There is Ukraine's gold medal winning Flagbearer Lyudmyla Pavlenko. She is not doing anything different from any other Flagbearer but does have a "peace" logo on her top. 

20:47 Next up we have the entry of the Flagbearers and the athletes.. 

20:41 The music of "Mission Impossible" and now, with that theme very much at the core, we have Russia's London 2012 bronze medal winning Para-rower Aleksey Chuvashev.

To demonstrate that the impossible is possible, he has climbed a rope using only his hands to a height of 15 metres. He ends up on top of the letters impossible.

It's hardly the most complicated Ceremony stunt every attempted but it is a very poignant and effective one. 

The video game Tetris on a stadium size scale ©Twitter

20:37 I said this was more 21st century but I perhaps should of said 1980s. Several blocks have appeared, entwined with industrial techno music. It is a segment dedicated to the video game Tetris - invented in Russia 30 years ago. 

20:33 The next section is called "Reaching the impossible". A very different vibe from a few moments ago as the sound of bass and techno replaces the classical vibes of the anthems. The 21st Century instead of the 20th you could say...

Over 500 performers are creating shapes related to winter sports - while there is also a nod to Russia's role in the creation of video games...

20:29 A total of 100 hand-picked children from the Russian State Chorus Assembly sing the anthem and, it may be just my imagination, but certainly a touch of wistfulness so far that this great festival of Russian sport is coming to an end.  

Aerial dancers mark a graceful beginning to the Closing Ceremony ©Twitter

20:24 Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony greets the arrival of the Flag. And now it is the Russian national anthem. We have got very familiar with this during the last few weeks of medal presentations...

At 43 medal presentations in fact - combining the Olympics and Paralympics...

20:22 Here comes Russian President Vladimir Putin and IPC chief Sir Philip Craven. Huge cheers as the Russian flag enters the arena...

They seem to have scrapped the "Olympic gold medal winner at Montreal 1976" style introduction which greeted Thomas Bach's arrival during the two Olympic Ceremony's...

20:18 As with the Opening Ceremony, wheelchair dancing will form a key component of tonight's Ceremony. And they get things underway in blue and white colours to signify snow and ice...

'Luminous aerialists' are now transported upwards. A graceful beginning to the Ceremony.

20:15 So here we go, at least one minute later than the usual time of 20:14 - according to my clock anyway, we are underway and the Closing Ceremony of Sochi 2014 has begun. 

The table-topping Russian team take their seats ©Getty Images

20:02 So we are very nearly ready to get underway here in Sochi...

Twitter2Stadium filling, volunteers dancing, seats not too shabby again. Looking forward to this #sochi2014
- British Paralympic Association chief executive Tim Hollingsworth is in the Fisht Olympic Stadium. He has also posted this photo...

The Fisht Stadium is filling up ahead of the Closing Ceremony ©Twitter

19:40 He may not be speaking this evening but someone who deserves so much credit for both Games is Dmitry Chernyshenko. An amazing achievement to be involved for the entire progress. 

And consistently brilliant at tweeting and posting photographs as well...

19:22 The Closing Ceremony is getting closer and closer here in Sochi and the anticipation is beginning to build. It seems a long time since we were first in the Fisht Stadium for the Closing Ceremony all those weeks ago.

Since then we have had some sport, some controversy, but most of all we have had a multitude of  thrilling and exciting sporting action. 

Sochi 2014 drum up excitement for the Closing Ceremony

US Sochi 2014 Paralympic Awards

19:02 The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has announced the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games finalists for Best of US - a new awards programme that recognises outstanding performances from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as determined by fan vote on the USOC Facebook page.

For Sochi 2014, winners will be selected in each of the following categories: Best Male/Female Olympian, Best Male/Female Paralympian, Team of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, Moment of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, Team Behind the Team Award and Fan of the Games Award.

Fan voting on the Paralympic side begins today (March 16) at 10am EDT and continues until March 21. The 10 award winners will be announced during the Best of U.S. Awards Show, scheduled to air April 7 on the NBC Sports Network. 

More details on the lengthy list of nominees and how to cast your vote can be found here

Quote marks"The easy answer for me as a proud Brit would be to choose Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans winning Great Britain's first ever alpine skiing gold in Monday's super-G. However, I'm not sure anything can beat seeing the emotion and sheer delight of the USA's Stephanie Jallen when she picked up bronze in the women's super-G standing. The 18-year-old leapt onto the podium, threw down her crutch and brought a tear to the eye of everybody in the crowd. It was an amazing and humbling moment."
- Sir Philip Craven on his Alpine skiing highlights during Sochi 2014

US bronze medal winner Stephanie Jallen leaps onto the podium ©Getty Images

As Chernyshenko's words and the medals table show (see 14:50), it really was a spectacular performance by Russian here in Sochi. Interestingly, we were slightly worried before the Games about what the atmosphere would be like in the Olympic Park with just two sports on the Paralympic programme - and in a piece written shortly before the Games - said that it would be important for Russia to do well in wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey so as to boost the Olympic Park atmosphere.

They did not quite win gold in either but they came as close as it was possible with a breakthrough silver medal in each...

Twitter280 medals!!! Russia sets new record in the number of medals won at #Paralympics! Very proud of our guys- our heroes!
- Sochi 2014 chief Dmitry Chernyshenko is allowed a moment to celebrate Russia's medal table success.

Mutai beats Farah in New York Half after fall

18:25 Mo Farah endured a tough time at the New York Half Marathon as he this morning - but still managed to finish second. The double world and Olympic champion was tripped early on and Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai took advantage to break clear and win by 18 seconds.

Farah clocked 61 minutes and eight seconds in out-sprinting another Kenyan in Stephen Sambubut then collapsed after crossing the finish line. He is fine though and described it as "not a big deal", adding "I just tried so hard in the race." Farah is making his debut over the marathon distance next month in London - where Mutai will be among the opposition.

Mo Farah following the New York Half Marathon this morning ©Getty Images

Sally Kipyego of Kenya won the women's event in a superb course record time of 68 minutes and 31 seconds.

18:14 That Ceremony is now just two hours away!

18:11 We have already brought you a few snippets about what will happen in the Closing Ceremony - including the fact that deputy prime minister Dmitry Kazak will give the final address (see 13:16 for more.) We've now had a sneak preview of the Pyeongchang 2018 section...

Kim Jin-sung, President of the Organising Committee for the next Games, has said: "Pyeongchang will give an exciting performance that brings the world together under the theme 'A Journey Together.' The performance will embody Pyeongchang's aspiration to walk hand in hand with the world to realize 'New Horizons', Pyeongchang's vision."

Closing Ceremony Flagbearers

Kirill Mikhaylov has the honour of carrying the Russian flag ©Getty Images

17:52 The Russian Flagbearer choice is also slightly surprising. Cross country skiing 1km sprint champion Kirill Mikhaylov. He won a bronze as well as that gold in Sochi to compliment a gold medal hatrick at Vancouver 2010 and further victory four years earlier in Turin. 

17:40 Brem is competing at a sixth Winter Paralympics and, beginning in Lillehammer 1994, has won eight medals including golds in Nagano, Salt Lake City and Vancouver.

Remarkably, he is only 36 now, so was just 16 when he made his debut two decades ago.

17:32 Some expected names there, and some more surprising ones. The likes of Markus Salcher, Marie Bochet and Josh Dueck have been big stars in Sochi...

Interesting choice by Germany to go for visually impaired Nordic skier Wilhelm Brem, whose best result was seventh in the 7.5km biathlon, ahead of a trio of female champions in Andrea Rothfuss, double champion Andra Eskau and Anna Schaffelhuber - who completed her sitting Alpine clean sweep with a fifth gold medal today...

Germany have chosen Wilhelm Brem as their Flagbearer ©Getty Images

17:25 Right, we have been looking back for a while now, time to look ahead to this evening's Closing Ceremony. The list of Flagbearers was announced earlier on today. Scroll down to 12:41 for it in full.

British flag17:14 Speaking of Great Britain, UK Sport has congratulated the British Paralympic Association on hitting all targets set for Sochi 2014 and achieving their best Winter Paralympic Games medal haul since Innsbruck 1984.

Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, said: "The final ParalympicsGB medal won yesterday by the wheelchair curling team represents the 633rd Olympic and Paralympic medal won since National Lottery funding for elite sport began in 1997, when our athletes' prospects were completely transformed; this is an achievement we as a nation, and National Lottery players in particular, should be extremely proud of."

"We must not rest on our laurels following the success we have seen in Sochi, both at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our planning with the sports for PyeongChang 2018 began last year, so we are well prepared to build on this momentum, with a view to delivering more inspirational Winter Olympic and Paralympic performances, to inspire and motivate the nation, in four years' time.

"Sports that have met or exceeded their medal targets should feel optimistic about future funding and we'll now work closely with them to explore their future medal prospects and will invest accordingly to realise this potential."

Great Britain discuss tactics midway through their epic comeback victory over the US in curling ©Getty Images

Quote marks"On Thursday, Great Britain and USA were both fighting for a semi-final place. Going into the seventh end, Britain trailed 6-2 and looked totally out of it. However, the Brits scored a five to take the lead, before the US tied in the final nail-biting end. Going into the extra end, the pressure was at boiling point, and the Brits were victorious 8-7. Sensational sport."
- I have to agree with another of Sir Philip Craven's highlights of Sochi 2014. A simply stunning wheelchair curling clash between his native Britain and the US.

Who is the best overall winter sporting nation?

Seven nations won gold medals at the Olympics but not a single one at the Paralympics - Belarus, Poland, China, South Korea, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Finland - with China, Poland, South Korea and Slovenia not winning a silver or bronze either. 

China did come very close in wheelchair curling, of course, with a fourth place finish.

On the other hand, only one nation won a Paralympic gold without taking an Olympic one. Any, it was Spain courtesy of downhill skier Yon Santacana Maiztegui.
Norwegian Flagbearer Mariann Marthinsen won the only gold medal of the Paralympic Games for Norway ©AFP/Getty Images

16:46 A pretty pointless but nonetheless quite interesting, and fun to work out, composite medals table combining Olympic and Paralympic success in Sochi.

No prizes for guessing who is top of the overall pile with more than double the gold and total medal haul of anyone else...but interesting to see which countries - Norway, US, Switzerland - are far weaker in the Paralympics and how others - Ukraine - are stronger. 

And interesting also that the Dutch speed-skating team, plus one Para-snowboarder in Bibian Mentel-Spee is enough to make them the seventh best winter sporting nation!
                  Olympics  G   S   B   Paralympics G    S   B  Overall   G    S   B  Total  
Russia                       13 11  9                           30 28 22                 43 39 31     113
Canada                      10 10 5                             7    2    7                 17 12 12      41
Germany                    8    6  5                             9    5    1                 17 11  6       34
Norway                       11  5  10                          1    2    1                 12  7  11      30
United States            9    7  12                           2    7    9                 11  14 21    46
France                        4    4   7                            5    3     4                 9     7    11  27
Netherlands              8    7   9                            1    0     0                 9    7      9    25
Switzerland                6   3   2                             1    0     0                7    3    2     12
Austria                        4   8   5                             2    5     4                 6    13   9    28
Ukraine                      1   0   1                             5    9     11               6     9    12  27

Ukraine to participate in Closing Ceremony

16:32 A very interesting press conference has been going on this afternoon in Sochi with Ukrainian Paralympic Committee President Valeriy Sushkevich.

He has confirmed that Ukraine will participate in this evening's Closing Ceremony and expressed his belief that by competing in the Games the Ukrainian team has helped with a "mission of peace" and even helped prevent any Russian invasion of Ukraine during the Games.

He adds that while he remain concerned about his country he now looks forward with hope and is hoping for peace after the Paralympics.

Ukrainian Paralympic chief Valeriy Sushkevich speaking this afternoon ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 - a legacy for the disabled in Russia?

16:24 What do you think? Human Rights Watch yesterday criticised the Organising Committee for having not done enough. They also criticised Sir Philip Craven for claiming host-cities should be chosen only for sporting reasons. Read our article here

16:20 The Organising Committee have outlined further the improvements in accessibility that have come about as a result of the Games. 

"All Paralympic Winter Games venues were made fully accessible for people with impairments - including parking, building entrances and exits, and spectator seating.

To make the movement of Sochi 2014 client groups with impairments as comfortable as possible, the Paralympic Games Transport Plans showed accessible routes between the city and Games venues and within the competition venues and the Olympic Park. During the Games, the city's transportation system added more than 800 buses for the transport of various client groups, of which 327 buses were accessible to people in wheelchairs.

During preparations for the Games, the main and reserve transport hubs - railway stations and international airports - Sochi, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar and Adler - were in full compliance with the requirements of a barrier-free environment.

All buildings where Paralympic athletes lived were equipped with ramps, elevators with accompanying sound, wide hallways and accessible bathrooms and showers. In addition, signs with braille or raised letters were specially installed for visually impaired athletes.

For the visually impaired in the Olympic Park and at all Games venues, tactile rails and warnings or visually contrasting paths were installed. On the steps of stairs and on transparent surfaces a warning was placed in contrasting stripes."

16:04 Roman Petushkov certainly wasn't put off by failing to win a seventh gold medal today. And nor should he have been. Here he is posing with some of the 8,000 volunteers...

Roman Petushkov poses with volunteers and his six gold medals ©Getty Images

15:52 IPC President Sir Philip Craven has hailed the Paralympic Winter Games as a "spectacular showcase of sport" and picked out a few of his favourite moments of the Games.

One of them, perhaps unsurprisingly involves Roman Petushkov's biathlon and cross-country success:

Quote marks"Roman Petushkov's gold on the first day of competition in the 7.5km sitting event set him on his way to a record-breaking Games. He's unbeaten so far and he firmly established himself as a national hero winning six golds from six events. He is a quite remarkable athlete and should he win a seventh gold on Sunday they he will rewrite all the history books."
- Sir Philip Craven reflecting - before today's race - on the man with six golden medals. 

15:40 Some of the best celebrations from the final day of action. 

Six of the best for Russian Nordic star Roman Petushkov ©Getty ImagesRoman Petushkov finds another way to show off his six gold medals ©Getty Images

Anna-Lena Forster of Germany seems happy with her bronze medal ©Getty ImagesMarie Bochet of France has a different way of celebrating her latest gold medal ©Getty Images

Facts, stats and Paralympic firsts

15:28 The Organising Committee has produced some reflections on the first Paralympic Winter Games in Russian history.

Over nine days of competition 547 Paralympic athletes from 45 countries took part, competing for 72 sets of medals in five Paralympic sports. Over 300,000 competition tickets have been sold - a significant Games record - and in Russia the Games were widely televised, with Russian television channels broadcasting a total of 180 hours.

Over 2,400 media representatives and television and radio broadcasters operated at the Paralympic Winter Games. During the Games, the official website was visited by more than 3 million people who, in total, viewed approximately 15 million pages.

During the Games, two Sochi 2014 Live Sites were in operation in Moscow and one in Sochi. In today, they transmitted overall 578 hours of broadcasts and hosted 817 different events. More than 8,000 volunteers helped in organising the competitions and worked a total of 80,000 shifts during the Games.

Some interesting stuff on the legacy as well which we will bring you a little later on. 

15:10 We are going to wind down the next few hours by reliving some of the highlights of Sochi 2014 - as well as previewing this evening's show-piece Closing Ceremony finale!

14:50 So there it is - the final medals table of Sochi 2014. Russia finish well, a country mile, ahead of the rest - with Germany managing to finish strongly, something they failed to do during the Winter Olympics, and hold on to second.

A late charge by Canada to snatch third place from Ukraine - while Slovakia and Great Britain will be among the other top ten nations to be delighted with their finish. 

Sochi 2014 Final Medals Table ©ITG

14:39 By winning the downhill, slalom, super combined, super-G and giant slalom, Schaffelhuber emulates Canada's Lauren Woolstencroft who achieved the same feat at Vancouver 2010 in the standing events. It also makes Schaffelhuber the single most successful female athlete at the Winter Paralympics along with Woolstencroft and Norwegians Ragnhild Myklebust at Innsbruck 1988 and Brit Mjaasund Oejen at Geilo 1980 and another German, Verena Bentele in Vancouver four years ago. "It's unbelievable," says Schaffelhuber.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medalSochi 2014 events end with Schaffelhuber completing Alpine ski clean sweep

Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber completed the clean sweep of Alpine titles with victory in the women's giant slalom sitting ©Getty ImagesGermany's Anna Schaffelhuber completed the clean sweep of Alpine titles with victory in the women's giant slalom sitting ©Getty Images

Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber won the women's giant slalom sitting to add to the four titles she had won earlier. Lying second at the end of the first run, she was handed victory when the leader Kimberly Jones crashed out near the top of the course. Silver went to Austria's Claudia Loesch and bronze Anna-Lena Forster.

We are among the main medal contenders now and the current leader is Austria's Claudia Loesch. 

There could be history if Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber can win another gold medal. That would be her fifth of the Games and complete the grand slam of Alpine ski events. She is lying in second behind Canada's Kimberly Jones after the first run. 

The women's giant slalom sitting is about to start. It is the last event of Sochi 2014. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medalFourth gold medal for Bochet

Bochet's victory is confirmed as she adds the giant slalom title to the ones she had claimed earlier in the downhill, slalom and super-G. Rothfuss tales silver and French teammate Solene Jambaque third. Bochet has now claimed four of France's five gold medals at Sochi 2014. 

France's Marie Bochet looks set to claim her fourth gold medal of Sochi 2014 after moving to the top of the leader board despite nearly losing it halfway down the course. She leads Germany's Andrea Rothfuss and America's Allison Jones. 

We are in the closing stages of the second run of the women's giant slalom standing. The current leader is American Allison Jones ahead of Russia's Inga Medvedeva and the Netherlands' Anna Jochemsen. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal
Canadian ends Petushko's bid for Paralympic history

Canada's Chris Klebl wins gold in the men's 10km sitting cross country with Urkaine's Maksym Yarovyi second and Russia's Grigory Murygin third. But Roman Petushko surprisingly missed out on a medal of any colour. A gold for Petushko would have meant he would have become only the second athlete in the history of the Winter Paralympics to win seven gold medals at a single Games (see 12:50). But tiredness appeared to catch up with him as he finished more than 30 seconds ahead behind Klebl, who is coached by Brian McKeever's brother, Robin. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medalGold for Slovakia

And Farkasova nails it! Having already won bronze in the slalom, she adds gold. Slovakia's third of the Games. Frantceva claims silver, her fifth medal of the Games, including two gold. Australia's Jessica Gallagher claims bronze, the second of her career having won the same colour in the slalom at Vancouver four years ago. 

The second runs of the women's giant slalom visually impaired is underway. Currently leading is Russia's Aleksandra Frantceva ahead of Australia's Jessica Gallagher and America's Staci Mannella. Only Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova, who led after the first run, left to come down. 

History could be slipping away from Russia's Roman Petushkov in the men's 10km sitting cross country. At halfway he is 13.5 seconds behind the leader Chris Klebl, from Canada. He will need something special in the second half of the race if he is to become the most successful Paralympians at a single Winter Games. 

Russian Deputy Prime Minister to deliver final address at Closing Ceremony

Dmitry Kozak

There will be an unusual break from protocol during the Closing Ceremony at the Fisht Olympic Stadium when Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak will deliver the final address, rather than Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmtiry Chernyshenko.

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, who will also speak at the Closing Ceremony, said: "Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has been a huge champion of the Paralympic Winter Games ever since Sochi won the bid in 2007.

"He has been responsible for the creation of a barrier-free Games infrastructure here in Sochi and will lead the roll-out of the barrier free philosophy across Russia post Games. This could be one of the greatest legacies of Sochi 2014.

"There are few others doing more in Russia to change the attitudes and perceptions towards people with an impairment than Deputy Prime Minister Kozak. He is the leading the way in helping to raise public awareness and contributing to maintaining positive change, a change that could take years to achieve due to the sheer size of this country.

"Throughout the last seven years he has constantly stressed the importance of the Paralympic Winter Games and has been a significant help to the IPC, the Russian Paralympic Committee and the Sochi Organising Committee in helping to raise the profile of this event.

"It is testament to all of his work that the IPC Governing Board was unanimous in approving this special exception in protocol for Deputy Prime Minister Kozak to speak at the Closing Ceremony."

Kozak said: "We have been working very hard for seven years, and more than 500,000 jobs were created and supported in preparation of these Games. The Sochi 2014 Games broke records and set a new bar for other sporting, public and social events. The huge demand of tickets for these Paralympics was the result of all of our preparations.

"The result of these Games will be to continue to improve life for people with an impairment in our country."

The men are on the course in the men's 10km sitting cross country. Can anyone stop Roman Petushkov making history?

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medalGold for Germany consolidates second place in medals table

Eskau is duly crowned gold medallist ahead of Pavlenko and Masters. She had already won a gold medal in the biathlon at Sochi 2014. It is the fifth gold medal of her Paralympic career having also enjoyed victories in cycling at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. 

Germany's Andrea Eskau won her second gold medal of Sochi 2014 with victory in the women's 5km sitting cross country ©Getty ImagesGermany's Andrea Eskau won her second gold medal of Sochi 2014 with victory in the women's 5km sitting cross country ©Getty Images

That is Germany's eighth gold medal of Sochi 2014, which should ensure they finish second behind Russia overall. To see the latest medals here click here

Her lead does not last long however, as Germany's Andrea Eskau crosses the line 19.6sec ahead. 

We have a new leader - Ukraine's Lyudmyla Pavlenko, winner of the 12km event. 

Now the main medal contenders are beginning to come led by America's Oksana Masters with Russia's Svetlana Konovalova in second. There will be no medal for Tatyana McFadden, who has finished but is already out of the top three. 

We have the first finisher in the women's 5km sitting cross country. It is Lidziya Hrafeyeva from Belarus.

If Petushkov succeeds he will equal the total number of gold medals won at a single Winter Paralympics by Norway's Knut Lundstroem at Innsbruck in 1988. He won three gold medals in cross country skiing and four in ice sledge speed racing, a sport no longer part of the Paralympic programme. 

The men's 10km sitting is due to begin shortly with Russia's Roman Petushkov chasing a record-equalling seventh Paralympic gold medal. If he will be last out on the course. 

List of flag bearers for Closing Ceremony

The full list of flag bearers for tonight's Closing Ceremony at the Fisht Olympic Stadium has been released.

Australia: Ben Tudhope (alpine skiing)
Austria: Makrus Salcher (alpine skiing)
Andorra: Xavier Fernandez (alpine skiing)
Argentina: Pablo Javier Robledo (Nordic skiing)
Armenia: Mher Avanesyan (alpine skiing)
Belarus: Vasili Shaptsiaboi (Nordic skiing)
Belgium: Denis Colle (snowboard)
Bulgaria Svetoslav Georgiev (Nordic skiing)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ilma Kazazic (alpine skiing)
Brazil: Fernando Rocha (Nordic skiing)
Great Britain: Jade Etherington (alpine skiing)
Germany: Wilhelm Brem (alpine skiing)
Greece: Efthymios Kalaras (alpine skiing)
Denmark: Line Damgaard (alpine skiing)
Iran: (leaving before Ceremony)
Iceland: Johann Thor Holmgrimsson (alpine skiing)
Spain: Gabriel Juan Gorce Yepes (alpine skiing)
Italy: Andrea Valenti (alpine skiing)
Kazakhstan: Yerlan Omaraov (Nordic skiing)
Canada: Josh Dueck (alpine skiing)
China: Haitao Wang (wheelchair curling)
Mexico: Arly Velasquez (alpine skiing)
Mongolia: Ganbold Batmunhk (Nordic skiing)
Netherlands: Anna Jochemsen (alpine skiing)
New Zealand: Corey Peters (alpine skiing)
Norway: Nils-Erik Ulset (Nordic skiing)
Poland: Wojciech Taraba (alpine skiing)
South Korea: Seung-Hwan Jung (ice sledge hockey)
Romania: Laura Valenau (alpine skiing)
Serbia: Jugoslav Milosevic (alpine skiing)
Slovakia: Henrieta Farkasova (alpine skiing)
Slovenia: Gal Jakic (alpine skiing)
USA: Steve Cash (ice sledge hockey)
Turkey: Hilmi Esat Bayindirli (alpine skiing)
Uzbekistan: Ramil Gayazov (alpine skiing)
Ukraine: Lyudmyla Pavlenko (Nordic skiing)
Finland: Matti Suur-Hamari (snowboard)
France: Marie Bochet (alpine skiing)
Croatia: Dino Sokolovic (alpine skiing)
Czech Republic: Michal Vapenka (ice sledge hockey)
Chile: Santiago Vega (alpine skiing)
Switzerland: Michael Bruegger (alpine skiing)
Sweden: Helene Ripa (Nordic skiing)
Japan: Akira Kano (alpine skiing)
Russia: Kirill Mikhaylov (Nordic skiing)

The women's 5km visually impaired cross country is underway with America's Tatyana McFadden among the contenders for a medal. 

Four time medallist chosen to carry British flag at Closing Ceremony

Some consolation for Jade Etherington, forced to withdraw from the women's giant slalom visually impaired earlier today (see 09:34 and 09:40). She has been chosen to carry the British flag at tonight's Closing Ceremony. "We've raised the flag four times this week already so this time it will be nice to carry it," she said. "Being visually impaired, I'll be able to see this one!

Twitter2Such a pity great @Sochi2014 legacy being so profoundly trashed by Russian action in Crimea
But Myler believes events in Crimea have overshadowed the success

Twitter2So @Sochi2014 comes to an end today with the @Paralympic closing ceremony. It's been an overwhelming success and Russia should be proud.
Australian's Ambassador to Russia Paul Myler pays tribute to Sochi 2014 organisers

The second runs of the women's giant slalom races face the prospect of delays because of high winds on the course at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre. We will keep you updated.

Russia set new Paralympic record

Russia now have a total of 78 medals - 30 gold, 27 silver and 21 bronze. That is a new Paralympic record, beating Austria's total of 70 at Innsbruck 1984. Their total included 34 golds, which Russia will probably fall just short of. But 30 years ago there were 107 events whereas at Sochi 2014 there are only 72. So this is unquestionably the greatest performance in Paralympic history. 

That is Remizova's third gold medal of Sochi 2014 having already won the women's 15km and as a member of the 4x2.5km mixed relay. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medalQuickly followed by number 30 with another cross country gold as another Russian 1-2-3

The women's 5km visually impaired follows quickly and Russians dominate. There is victory for Elena Remizova, who beats team-mate Mikhalina Lysova by four seconds with Iuliia Budaleeva completing the clean sweep.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medalGold number 29 for Russia as Milenina takes cross country gold

Anna Milenina wins gold number 29 for Russia in the women's 5km cross country standing ©Getty ImagesAnna Milenina wins gold number 29 for Russia in the women's 5km cross country standing ©Getty Images

Russia's Anna Milenina takes her third medal - and second gold - of these Games as she finishes more than 13 seconds ahead of Iuliia Batenkova and Oleksandra Kononov, both from Ukraine. That is Russia's 75th medal of these Winter Paralympics and 29th gold. 

But the main contenders are now beginning to finish. Russia's Anna Milenina is the leader ahead of two Ukrainians, Iuliia Batenkova and Oleksandra Kononova. 

Of those to have crossed the line it is Ukraine's Liudmyla Iashenko who has clocked the fastest time of 14min 02.9sec.

Back at the Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Centre the women in the 5km standing cross country are out on the course. Early leader on the course is Ukraine's Oleksandra Kononova, the defending champion.  

All 12 skiers have now completed the course and Jones remains out in front after the first run ahead of Anna Schaffelhuber with American Alana Nichols, knocked unconscious on this trip six days ago, in the bronze medal position. 

We are back up and running now with Canada's Kimberly Jones leading, surprisingly ahead of Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber, who is chasing a fifth gold medal. 

The women's giant slalom sitting event, which should be underway already, has been delayed. The only competitor to have completed the course so far is American Alana Nichols in a time of 1min 33.49sec. The delay has been caused by officials needing to repair the finishing banner. 

Russian officials needed to fix the finishing banner before the women's giant slalom sitting could resume its first run ©Twitter Russian officials needed to fix the finishing banner before the women's giant slalom sitting could resume its first run ©Twitter

To confirm that in the women's giant slalom standing France's Marie Bochet leads after the first run ahead of Germany's Andrea Rothfuss and another Frenchwoman, Solene Jambaque.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medalTenth Winter Paralympics gold medal for Canadian McKeever

Brian McKeever claims his tenth gold medal ahead of Russian Stanislav
Chokhlaev and France's Thomas Clarion.  

Brian McKeever, meanwhile, is heading for a tenth gold medal in the visually impaired race after posting a time of 23min 18.1sec. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal1-2-3 for Russia in men's 10km standing cross country

Those results are confirmed as Aleksandr Pronkov claims gold ahead of Vladimir Kononov and Vladislav Lekomtcev.

Russians now fill the top five positions. Pronkov maintains his place at the top while behind him are Vladimir Kononov and Vladislav Lekomtcev. 

We are heading for a Russian clean sweep with Kirill Mikhaylov moving into the bronze medal position. 

Leader in the clubhouse of the men's 10km standing cross country is Russia's Aleksandr Pronkov ahead of team-mate Sergey Lapkin and Austria's Michael Kruz. 

The men's 10km visually impaired cross country is also underway and you will not be surprised to hear that Canada's Brian McKeever is on course for a tenth Paralympic gold medal. 

In the men's 10km standing cross country it is Austria's Michael Kruz who is currently leading.

France's Marie Bochet, winner of three gold medals at these Games already, takes the lead despite having to regain her momentum after nearly skiing off the course halfway down.  

With seven skiers have completed the first run of the women's giant slalom standing so far, Germany's Andrea Rothfuss is leading. 

The women's giant slalom standing is now underway, as is the men's 10 kilometres standing cross country race.

Ski course continues to cause problems right to end

Remarkably only six skiers complete the first run in the women's giant slalom visually impaired with Farkasova maintaining her lead ahead of Russia's Aleksandra Frantceva and Australia's Jessica Gallagher.

Britain's Kelly Gallagher was among the fallers in the first run of the giant slalom visually impaired ©Getty ImagesBritain's Kelly Gallagher was among the fallers in the first run of the giant slalom visually impaired ©Getty Images

That leaves Slovakia's Henrietta Farkasova as the early leader ahead of Australia's Jessica Gallagher, the only two skiers to have completed the course so far. 

More disappointment for Britain as Kelly Gallagher, the country's first-ever Winter Paralympic gold medallist when she won the super-G. She falls for the third consecutive event since that triumph and is out of the giant slalom. 

More details on the withdrawal of Etherington, winner of three silver medals and a bronze in her four previous events at Sochi 2014. Over the last 12 hours she has felt unwell and has been under the close medical supervision of the ParalympicsGB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Stuart Miller, according to a statement from the British team.

"This morning Jade still felt unwell and she, her guide Caroline and Dr Miller made a joint decision that she should not race in the Giant Slalom," the statement said. 

"Whilst it is extremely disappointing for Jade and Caroline that they won't be able to compete in their final race of the Games, their welfare and wellbeing is our primary consideration at this time," said Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe. "Jade is doing better today, but the demands of ski racing at this level mean that she would not be competing at her best and this potentially puts her safety at risk.

"Jade has had an exceptional Paralympic Games and her performances for ParalympicsGB have been outstanding. Her withdrawal from the final event in no way diminishes her fantastic achievements here in Sochi."

Some bad news for Britan's Jade Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell, winners of a record four medals at these Games. They have pulled out of the giant slalom following doctor's advice that Etherington should not compete. 

We are already underway in the women's giant slalom visually impaired where the first run has just started. 

Even defeats yesterday in the finals of the wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey to Canada and the United States respectively which disappointed many fans, including President Vladimir Putin, cannot hide what a spectacular success these Games have been for host nation Russia and there is sure to be a carnival atmosphere at the Closing Ceremony which is due to take place in the Fisht Olympic Stadium tonight at 20:00.

Russian President Vladimir Putin s disappointed by his country's defeat against the United States in the final of the ice sledge hockey ©AFP/Getty Images

On this final day, we will have a final flurry of medals action with three giant slalom events in Alpine skiing and six cross-country freestyle events, which will surely give the host nation Russia the opportunity to add to its already impressive medal collection. 

They currently have a total of 70 medals, including 27 gold, a total only surpassed by the amount that Austria won at the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Innsbruck when there were far more events. 

Hello and good morning to the final day of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics, indeed the last day of Sochi 2014, a Games which has captured the imagination of the world and provided us with plenty of highlights, memorable moments and controvesy over the past six weeks.