Sport

Winter Paralympics open in cheery mood

Winter Paralympics open in cheery mood

Earlier in the day, Mollie Jepsen of Whistler, B.C. captured bronze in the women's downhill standing event, earning Canada's first medal of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

The Paralympic cauldron was lit by Seo Soonseok, the captain of South Korea's men's wheelchair curling team.

When the athletes marched into Pyeongchang Stadium for the opening ceremonies, they were led by Brian McKeever, a decorated Paralympian with 10 gold medals. There are a record 80 gold medals up for grab, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap) reported.

There was a silver lining, though, in the unity among the two torchbearers - one North Korean and one South Korean.

North Korea took center stage at the ceremony.

Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said that despite this latest hiccup, the countries have pushed diplomacy forward.

It's been eight years since Adam Page first played in the Paralympics.




Among them are 30 neutral competitors from Russian Federation, which remains suspended by the IPC over a mass doping scandal.

The show of division came on the same day that President Donald Trump announced that he agreed to meet face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The first official Paralympic Games took place in 1960, in Rome, Italy, with 400 athletes representing 23 different countries.

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.

Some of the adapted sports have become hits with spectators, such as fast and furious para ice hockey where competitors slide around on double-bladed sledges. Although injuries have continued to plague the six-time Alaskan state champion wrestler, he's ready to make his Paralympic debut in downhill and will try to add Paralympic gold to the world downhill title he won in February 2017.

American Daniel Cnossen, a former US Navy Seal, took gold in the men's sit ski.

A cheery mood coursed through festivities that lacked the tension of the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, when Ukraine sent only its flag-bearer to the opening ceremony to protest Russia's intervention in the Crimean Peninsula, or the undertones of the 2016 Rio Paralympics, which were stained by financial turmoil and meager ticket sales.