Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Winter Paralympics begin with spectacular opening ceremony

Winter Paralympics begin with spectacular opening ceremony

As the RPC remains suspended, Russian Para athletes will compete in the Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea's PyeongChang, held on March 9-18, in the neutral status.

McKeever, sporting Team Canada gear and a wide smile, walked into the stadium with 54 other Canadian athletes - the country's largest-ever Winter Paralympics contingent - along with coaches and support staff.

The IPC directed its focus on the achievement of hosting the inaugural North Korean Paralympic team in South Korea despite their history of conflict.

The United States on Saturday got off to a good start on the opening day of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, topping the medals tally with three gold, one silver and one bronze medals.

After marching together for the beginning of the Winter Olympics, North and South Korea marched separately at the start of the Paralympics. Also, 18 Team USA athletes have served in the US military.

Vitaliy Lukyanenko has won the first gold medal for Ukraine at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, Korea.

It is the second consecutive Paralympic Games with no Russian team, with the country also excluded from the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.

In an opening address, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons urged the Paralympians to "keep fighting, play fair, have fun and keep pushing your limits".

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North Korea had wanted to use a version of the Korean peninsula flag that includes islands disputed with Japan.

Just like the recent Olympics also in Pyeongchang, two issues dominate: Russian Federation and North Korea.

As well as North Korea, Georgia and Tajikistan are taking part for the first time in the nine-day Games.

21-year-old alpine skier Momoka Muraoka led the Japanese delegation at the opening ceremony.

They had originally been expected to march alongside their South Korean counterparts at Friday's opening ceremony but a row over how their "unification flag" should appear halted the plan.

Parsons said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach will be in attendance at Friday's opening ceremony.

"We were still negotiating right up until the very last moment".

American snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, who lost her right leg below the knee, made headlines when she featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.

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