Following on from a hugely successful Winter Olympics, Sochi plays host to the world once again with the 11th Winter Paralympic Games and Channel 4 will be providing the most comprehensive TV coverage of the event in its history.
More than 50 hours of live action will be broadcast across Channel 4 and More4 over the ten days of competition, the greatest ever commitment to the Winter Paralympics by a UK broadcaster.
From the Opening Ceremony on Friday, March 7, through to the last day of competition on Sunday, March 16, Channel 4 has all the action covered from Sochi with its team of presenters – Ade Adepitan, Jonathan Edwards, Kelly Cates and Arthur Williams – guiding viewers through all the excitement from five thrilling winter paralympic sporting disciplines.
Alongside comprehensive TV coverage, Channel 4 will also be offering two further channels of live streaming available digitally, highlights on Channel 4 News and special editions of The Last Leg during the Games.
The Winter Paralympics have gone from strength the strength since they were first staged in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, in 1976 and the Sochi Games are set to be the biggest yet.
Athletes at the Winter Paralympic Games compete in five different sports – Alpine skiing, Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair curling.
Back in 1976, amputees and visually impaired skiers competed for medals in giant slalom and slalom, as well as three cross-country skiing distances.
Since then, biathlon has joined alpine and cross-country skiing on the Paralympic programme, along with the team sports of ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
While ice sledge racing, an event that served Great Britain well for medals, has not been seen since 1998, there will be a new kid on the block for Sochi – Snowboard Cross, which proved extremely popular during the recent Winter Olympics.
Great Britain has competed in all 10 previous Winter Paralympics but they are yet to win their first gold medal.
In Sochi, ParalympicsGB will be represented in Alpine skiing and Wheelchair curling with a team comprised of 15 potentially new sporting heroes, all of whom will take huge inspiration from the performance of their Olympic counterparts who delivered Team GB’s best medal haul at a Winter Games in 90 years.
ParalympicsGB’s record winter medals haul is 10 at the Innsbruck Games in 1984, but the team has taken just one medal from the last four Games, a wheelchair curling silver at Turin in 2006.
UK Sport has set a target of between two and six medals for Sochi 2014 and there are strong medal hopes in alpine skiing and curling.
Great Britain’s Wheelchair curling squad for Sochi was completed in December with the five members comprising of Aileen Neilson, Tom Killin, Gregor Ewan, Rob McPherson and Angie Malone.
In alpine skiing, visually impaired trio Kelly Gallagher, Jade Etherington and Millie Knight will race with their respective guides Charlotte Evans, Caroline Powell and Rachael Ferrier.
Gallagher is one of the strongest hopes for a British gold medal having won four medals at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in February last year, while Etherington who won bronze at the IPC World Cup finals in last March.
Mick Brennan, Ben Sneesby and Anna Turney will compete in sit-skiing, and teenager James Whitley will represent ParalympicsGB in the standing events.
Almost 200 athletes from 16 different countries took part in those first Winter Games back in 1976, whereas in Sochi there will be around 700 competitors from 45 nations.
Building on its successful BAFTA-award winning coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics, which helped change attitudes towards disability, Channel 4 will be bringing sports fans the very best of the Sochi Games.
It is the first time that Channel 4 has covered the event and it will be the greatest ever commitment to the Paralympic Winter Games by a UK broadcaster, which previously consisted of a single highlights programme on the BBC.
Launching Channel 4’s extensive coverage coverage, Channel 4’s sports editor Jamie Aitchison says: “Channel 4’s coverage of London 2012 brought Paralympic sport to the fore to an extent that had never before happened in the UK and helped changed perceptions of disabled sport.
“I’m delighted that, with over 150 hours of coverage across television and online, we have the opportunity to build on that with by far the biggest ever commitment to covering the Paralympic Winter Games.”
Follow the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics on Channel 4. SOTB’s viewing guide below:
Channel 4’s first ever Winter Paralympics and More4 will broadcast 50 hours of live coverage over the ten days of competition.
From the Opening Ceremony on March 7 through to the last day of competition on Macrh 16, Channel 4’s coverage is UK television’s biggest ever commitment to the Paralympic Winter Games.
Alongside complete TV coverage, there will also be two further high-definition channels of live streaming available digitally, daily reports on Channel 4 News and special editions of The Last Leg during the Games.
Daily coverage will begin from either between 5.30am and 6.00am or 11.30am depending on the programme of events (full TV schedule below) and will include live coverage from all five of the winter sports.
The majority of the live action will be shown on Channel 4 throughout its morning schedules during the nine day.
However, due to a clash with another major Channel 4 sporting event – the Cheltenham Festival – afternoon coverage from Tuesday to Friday will instead air on More4 from 12.30pm onwards, plus an hour each morning from 8.00am to 9.00am due to The Morning Line.
In addition to comprehensive live coverage across Channel 4 and More4, there will also be a nightly highlights show rounding up the best of the day’s action on Channel 4 at 6.30pm on weekends and 7.30pm on weekdays.
In the lead up to the 2012 Games, Channel 4 identified and trained new presenters and reporters with disabilities and four of that team will be returning to present the Sochi 2014 coverage.
Former Paralympic swimmer Latham will also host a special half-hour preview programme on the Sunday before the Games begin (March 2) at 8.35am where she and various guests look ahead to Sochi.
On the night of the opening ceremony, Channel 4’s live coverage will be anchored by Jon Snow from 3.30pm with commentary provided by fellow Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
Keme Nzerem, Channel 4 News’ Sports Correspondent, will report from Sochi across the Paralympics with reports in each evening’s news programmes.
The trio will take a look at the weird and wonderful talking points of the week and also look at the stories and highlights from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Williams and Cates will present the Paralympic breakfast coverage before handing over to Adepitan and Edwards who will anchor coverage of events in the mid-morning.
Sit-ski racer Tim Farr, wheelchair curler Michael McCreadie and Giles Long, the former Paralympic swimmer and inventor of LEXI (see below), will also give their expert opinion on the events and helping give detailed explanations of each of the sports and the equipment used.
In the commentary boxes, leading ski racing broadcaster Nick Fellows, who previously presented Channel 4’s World Cup Skiing programmes, will lead commentary on the Alpine Skiing events alongside John Clarke and Sean Rose.
Rob Walker will commentate on the Biathlon and Cross Country events alongside former Olympic biathlete Mike Dixon, John Rawling calls the Ice Sledge Hockey action alongside Great Britain captain Ian Warner, while Wheelchair Curling commentary will come from Bob Kelly and Sochi 2014 bronze medalist Lauren Grey.
The ground-breaking and acclaimed LEXI decoder – which made its debut at the London 2012 Paralympics – will also return to help guide viewers through the different classifications involved in each of the sports.
Coverage will be produced by leading independent sports producer, Sunset+Vine, which co-produced Channel 4’s BAFTA award winning coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Channel 4 has also commissioned six short films from Boom Pictures profiling some of the ones to watch in Sochi and some of the amazing sports – which will be broadcast in the week leading up to the Games.
Additionally, Twofour has been commissioned to produce a series of short form films for Channel4.com giving an insight into the profile and training of five athletes competing in Sochi.
Alison Walsh, Channel 4’s Disability Executive said: “Our London coverage won universal praise for its portrayal of the athletes and Paralympic sport.
“It’s particularly exciting to have a number of the fantastic new presenters who made their debut with us, and who worked so hard with our teams to get the tone on disability right in London, returning to host our coverage in Sochi after developing their careers both with Channel 4 and elsewhere since the Games in 2012.”
Gary Franses, Executive Producer for Sunset+Vine said: “This is Chapter Two of Channel 4’s thrilling Paralympic story.
“London in 2012 was unforgettable. Sochi will be too because once again the world’s finest athletes will prove there’s no limit to what they’re capable of achieving.
“Sunset+Vine are proud to be part of another piece of sporting television history.”
Channel 4 announced in February 2013 that it had been awarded the UK television rights for both the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games following a competitive tender process by the International Paralympic Committee.
The deal built on the success of Channel 4’s coverage of London 2012 which broke UK viewing records for Paralympic sport and reached over 69 percent of the population, and also won a range of industry awards including the BAFTA for Best Sport and Live Event.
Complimenting Channel 4’s comprehensive TV coverage will be a range of digital options via its dedicated Winter Paralympics website.
Over 100 hours of additional coverage will be broadcast on two Paralympic Extra streams available via channel4.com/paralympics as video on-demand on computer, smartphone and tablet.
Fast-turnaround highlights of medals and key moments will also be available on the website, as well as via YouTube.
There will be live blogging throughout on the Channel 4 Paralympics website, which will be sharing the latest new, photos, videos, comment and opinion.
The Channel 4 Paralympic website will include full athlete profiles for all British competitors plus all you need to know about the sports and the international stars competing.
BBC Radio 5 live will also bring live reports of the key moments from the 11th Winter Paralympic Games to be staged from March 7-16.
Jamie Broughton will be live from Russia reporting on ParalympicsGB’s medal prospects in alpine skiing and wheelchair curling as well as reporting on the events in the biathlon, cross-country skiing and ice sledge hockey disciplines.
All TV times subsequent to change.
Scroll up and click on our daily TV guides for full Channel 4 schedules for each day of the Games.Friday 7th March Opening Ceremony LIVE: 3.30pm-6.30pm Channel 4 The Last Leg: 10.00pm-10.45pm Channel 4 Saturday 8th March DAY 1 LIVE: 5.45am-9.00am / 9.00am-11.30am Channel 4 Highlights: 6.30pm-7.00pm Channel 4 Sunday 9th March
DAY 2 LIVE: 6.00am-11.00am / 11.00am-2.30pm Channel 4 Highlights: 6.30pm-7.00pm Channel 4 Monday 10th March DAY 3 LIVE: 5.45am-11.00am / 11.00am-12.30pm / 12.35pm-2.40pm Channel 4 Highlights: 7.30pm-8.00pm Channel 4 Tuesday 11th March DAY 4 LIVE: 5.30am-8.00am / 9.00am-11.00am / 11.00am-12.30pm Channel 4 LIVE: 8.00am-9.00am / 12.30pm-3.00pm More4 Highlights: 7.30pm-8.00pm Channel 4 Wednesday 12th March DAY 5 LIVE: 6.00am-8.00am / 9.00am-11.00am Channel 4 LIVE: 8.00am-9.00am More4 Highlights: 7.30pm-8.00pm Channel 4 Thursday 13th March DAY 6 LIVE: 6.00am-8.00am / 9.00am-11.00am / 11.00am-12.30pm Channel 4 LIVE: 8.00am-9.00am / 12.30pm-4.40pm More4 Highlights: 7.30pm-8.00pm Channel 4 Friday 14th March DAY 7 LIVE: 11.30am-12.30pm Channel 4 LIVE: 12.30pm-4.05pm More4 Highlights: 7.30pm-8.00pm Channel 4 The Last Leg: 10.00pm-10.50pm Channel 4 Saturday 15th March DAY 8 LIVE: 5.45am-11.00am / 11.00am-1.30pm Channel 4 LIVE: 1.30pm-3.00pm / 3.45pm-6.30pm More4 Highlights: 6.30pm-7.00pm Channel 4 Sunday 16th March DAY 9 LIVE: 5.30am-10.30am Channel 4 Closing Ceremony LIVE: 3.45pm-5.45pm Channel 4 . .