February 27 – A host of top Paralympic athletes will take part in daily Google Hangouts during the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, where members of the public will have their questions answered by their favourite sporting stars.
Starting at 5pm Moscow time each day, prior to the victory ceremonies in the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, athletes will answer questions posted to them by members of the public during the day.
Some of the top medal contenders at Sochi 2014 will be taking part in the campaign including alpine skiers Marie Bochet, Michael Bruegger, Kelly Gallagher, Vincent Gauthier-Manuel, Taiki Morii, Andrea Rothfuss, Markus Salcher, Jon Santacana and Takeshi Suzuki.
Para-snowboarders Bibian Mentel-Spee, Amy Purdy and Evan Strong are taking part along with Nordic skiers Kozo Kubo, Mariann Marthinsen and Nils-Erik Ulset.
The Hangouts, being hosted by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), will be moderated by Spain's five time Alpine skiing gold medallist Eric Villalon along with American Muffy Davis, who won three cycling golds at London 2012 to add to three silver and a bronze medal from Paralympic Winter Games in Nagano and Salt Lake City.
"This is all part of the IPC's digital strategy to get fans closer to the athletes during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games," said director of media and communications at the IPC, Craig Spence.
"Each day, the public will be able to pose questions to the athletes in the Hangouts and also be able to catch up on any conversations they miss with videos on demand."
This follows an announcement from the IPC earlier this week that 30 of the world's top winter athletes will record exclusive behind-the-scenes video blogs at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, in partnership with its Worldwide Paralympic partner Samsung.
The project is part of Samsung's Sochi 2014 Paralympic campaign "Sport Doesn't Care," which highlights that everyone has problems in their lives to overcome, and that sport can help them do so.
This initiative is an extension of the project from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where 50 athletes recorded nearly 700 video blogs and the content was uploaded to the IPC's YouTube Channel and shared on the IPC, London 2012 and Samsung online outlets.
In September last year, the IPC launched its social media guidelines for Sochi 2014 as part of its drive to get athletes, supporters and officials to share their experiences of the Games with the world to further enhance the profile of the Paralympic Movement.
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from March 7 to 16.
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