TIME olympics

Ukraine Will Compete in Sochi Paralymics

UKRAINE PARALYMPIC
Julian Stratenschulte—EPA Flag bearer Mykhaylo Tkachenko of Ukraine attends the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia, March 07 2014.

Despite Russia's military forces moving into Crimea, Ukraine has decided to participate in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi just hours before the opening ceremonies and had earlier consulted with athletes

Ukraine has decided it will participate in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi even as Russian troops have taken over the Crimea region of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Paralympic Committee announced its decision just hours before the opening ceremonies of the games Friday, the Associated Press reports. It consulted with the athletes before opting not to boycott the competition amid a tense geopolitical standoff with Russia.

“I don’t remember a situation when the organizing country during a Paralympics started an intervention on the territory of a country taking part. I don’t know what to extent the team can focus on the result now,” the the AP quoted Valeriy Sushkevich, president of the National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine, saying to the R-Sport agency.

Sushkevich added that he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to ask for peace during the games. Putin reportedly listened to his case, though he did not guarantee a truce. Sushkevich said Ukraine’s team will leave if the military conflict escalates further.

The International Paralympic Committee has asked Russia to recognize the U.N.’s Olympic Truce, which appeals for ceasefire during the Olympic games. The Ukrainian athletes chanted “peace to Ukraine” during the flag-raising ceremony in Sochi on Thursday night. The incident is now being investigated as a possible breach of Olympic rules that ban political protest.

[AP]

TIME Africa

Ex-Girlfriend Says ‘Blade Runner’ Had a Temper and Loved His Gun

Samantha Taylor says Oscar Pistorius was trigger happy and quick to get angry

Oscar Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend said Friday that the Olympian double-amputee known as “Blade Runner” had a temper and was known to fire his gun when angry.

Samantha Taylor testified at Pistorius’ murder trial in South Africa that he was quick to get angry, would frequently scream at her and her family members, and cheated on her multiple times, including with Reeva Steenkamp, the woman he’s accused of murdering. She also said he never went anywhere without his pistol, and recalled at least two occasions when he had drawn or fired his gun out of anger, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Taylor said Pistorius had once fired his pistol out of an open sunroof because he was angry that a policeman had stopped the car and touched the gun. Taylor also described another incident when Pistorius had pulled a gun on a car that was following theirs.

Taylor’s testimony also rebutted one of the defense’s key arguments, that Pistorius sounded like a woman when he screamed. “When he screamed, it sounded like a man,” she said.

Pistorius killed his girlfriend, Steenkamp, very early on Valentine’s Day morning last year. His defense team says the Olympian athlete shot into the bathroom thinking he was shooting an intruder and protecting Steenkamp. The prosecution says Pistorius shot Steenkamp during an argument that was heard by multiple neighbors.

Taylor said that Pistorius did occasionally wake up and think there were intruders in the house, but she said he always woke her up when that happened.

[LAT]

TIME Appreciation

Awesome Dad Builds Fully Functioning Backyard Luge Track For His Kids

A little slice of Sochi, right here in the USA

Wanting to bring some of the excitement of the Winter Olympics to his very own backyard, Long Island dad Jay Venini built a luge track for his kids to enjoy. It’s very patriotic and his kids are super into it. Regular old sledding will never be the same again now that we know this exists.

TIME olympics

U.K. Ministers to Boycott Paralympics in Sochi

A Steven Paston / Action Images / ZUMAPRESS.com Sept. 6, 2012 Paralympics - London Great Britain's Sophie Kamlish and Japan's Saki Takakuwa after a race in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London

David Cameron says it would be "wrong" to send officials to Russia at this time of tension over Ukraine

Not even a feel good event like the Paralympics can bridge the widening chasm between Russia and the West. British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted Monday that U.K. ministers would steer clear of the event so long as the host country, Russia, was mobilizing thousands of troops across Ukraine.

“Because of the serious situation in Ukraine,” the tweet read, “@WilliamJHague & I believe it would be wrong for UK Ministers to attend the Sochi Paralympics.”

The New York Times reports that Prince Edward, a patron of the British Paralympic Association, has accordingly canceled a planned visit to Russia “on the advice of the government.”

[New York Times]

TIME closeup

Pictures of the Week: February 21 – February 28

From tens of thousands gathering in Kiev's Independence square, to a rare meeting of North and South Koreans, and hundreds of tiny pandas packed into a Chinese theater to a Japanese island inhabited by bunnies, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

From tens of thousands gathering in Kiev’s Independence square, to a rare meeting of North and South Koreans, and hundreds of tiny pandas packed into a Chinese theater to a Japanese island inhabited by bunnies, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME olympics

Sochi Bids Farewell to the 2014 Winter Olympics

Athletes, performers and flags mark the pageantry of the closing ceremony

Athletes, performers and flags mark the pageantry of the closing ceremony

TIME olympics

Russia Pokes Fun At Itself By Recreating Olympic Rings Malfunction

Performers recreate the fifth Olympic ring that didn't open in the opening ceremony during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
David J. Phillip—AP Performers recreate the fifth Olympic ring that didn't open in the opening ceremony during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

In the closing ceremonies, things come full circle

Remember that (kind of hilarious) malfunctionduring the Sochi opening ceremonies when five giant snowflakes transformed into an incomplete set of glowing Olympic rings? Well, the Russians remember it too, and at Sunday’s closing ceremonies, decided to poke fun at themselves for the technical flub.

Following a choreographed routine, performers sporting some exceptionally sparkly get-ups moved into formation to create a giant set of Olympic rings — but deliberately left one ring as a small, disconnected circle. This, of course, was a winking nod to that original fail:

2014 Winter Olympic Games - Season 2014
Paul Drinkwater / NBC / Getty Images

Good job, Russia, for proving you’ve got a sense of humor.

TIME olympics

Must-See Photos from Sochi Olympics: Day 18

Bobsledding, cross-country skiing and more on Sochi's 18th day

TIME olympics

U.S. Fourth In Sochi Gold Medal Count

Total of 28 overall medals is nine fewer than won in Vancouver in 2010

Correction appended 10:16pm

The competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi came to a close Sunday, leaving behind a spate of disappointing defeats and surprising victories in its snow-sprayed wake.

With 13 golds and 33 overall medals, the host nation Russia emerged as the decisive victor of the games. Norway, the skiing king, won 11 gold medals and 26 overall, followed by Canada at 10 gold medals and 25 overall.

It was not a good year for the United States, who placed fourth in gold medals, with nine, and 28 overall medals—nine fewer than the last winter games in Vancouver.

Team USA’s most prominent American Olympians—Shaun White, Bode Miller, Shani Davis—won a total of one bronze medal between them. The Americans won no medals in speedskating for the first time since 1984 and no individual figure skating medals for the first time since 1936. The men’s hockey team, the inheritors of the Miracle on Ice legacy, was outscored by a total of 6-0 in the medal rounds.

(PHOTOS: See the closing ceremonies)

[USA Today]

An earlier version of this article had an inaccurate headline suggesting the U.S. had placed fourth in overall medal count, not in gold medal count.

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