Sochi opens 2014 Paralympic Winter Games on Friday

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | 9:12 p.m. CST; updated 6:45 a.m. CST, Thursday, March 6, 2014

COLUMBIA — Sochi is not done playing host to winter sports just yet.

The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will begin with the Opening Ceremony on Friday and continue through March 16. They will be broadcast daily on NBC and NBCSN, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee website. Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, sled or ice sledge, hockey and wheelchair curling are on the schedule for the games.

According to 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Team USA Media Guide, there will be 30 Alpine skiing events for men and women.

The wheelchair curling event is only open to men and women with disabilities in the lower half of the body, such as spinal-cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and double-leg amputation. Biathlon and cross-country skiing are separate sports that fall under Nordic Skiing. In sled hockey, one team to watch is the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. It is shooting for consecutive gold medals. So far, no sled hockey team has ever won consecutive Paralympic Games titles. 

A couple of this year's competitors live in Missouri. Bryan Price of Beltonwill be competing in the cross-country skiing event. Price, a new member of the Nordic team, is a retired Army staff sergeant. Apart from skiing, Price enjoys hunting, scuba diving and playing basketball and softball, according to the media guide.

Steve Cash of St. Louis will be competing in sled hockey as a goaltender. Cash started playing sled hockey in 2004 on the Disabled Athlete Sports Association's St. Louis Blues Sled Hockey Team. In 2005, Cash was selected to join the national team, according to the media guide. 

This year, the U.S. has sent 80 athletes to compete in the Paralympics — an increase of 30 athletes from the 50 sent to the Vancouver Paralympics in 2010.

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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