After the Opening Ceremony last night the sporting action is underway on day one of the Winter Paralympics in Sochi


By Duncan Mackay and Nick Butler
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are Russian

BREAKING: Italian ice sledge hockey player sent home after failing drugs test for anabolic steroids (see 09:28 for more and read our report here)

Goodnight and see you tomorrow

22:51 Well time to close down for the night. We hope that you have enjoyed it.

Tomorrow there are five gold medals up for grabs. Three in the men's Alpine skiing events and one each for men and women in the cross-country races. 

The highlight is set to be Canadian veteran Brian McKeever, winner of golds in three cross-country races at Vancouver 2010, who will be hoping he has overcome a virus he picked-up on the eve of the Games to add to his total of 10 medals, which includes seven gold.

But he has a maor rival in Russian Roman Petushkov, a silver medallist at Vancouver and who has already opened his gold medal account in Sochi with victory earlier today in the 7.5km sitting race.

And, of course, there will be what is set to be a daily diet of wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey. 

We will be back tomorrow at 09:00 (that's 5am GMT)

Mutko has also been impressed with the facilities on this opening day. "Some good impressions from the first day of the Paralympics," he told Ria Novosti. "The competitions are amazing, the mountains are beautiful, there are medals and the guys are happy."

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has described the mountains as "beautiful"  ©The Asahi Shimbun/Getty ImagesRussian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has described the mountains as "beautiful"  ©The Asahi Shimbun/Getty ImagesRussian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has described the mountains as "beautiful"
©The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, for one, claims he is not surprised by the success of his country's team. "Of course, we expected such a successful performance," he told Russian news agency Ria Novosti. Our team is very well prepared. There are very many races ahead of us, so we're expecting more medals. Our athletes will please us yet further."

What a breathless end to the opening day of competition at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, one marked by drama, controversy and a memorable start for Ukraine's team who won a total of five medals, including one gold, to finish third overall in the medals table. Sledge hockey aside, the Russians have enjoyed a glorious first day with 12 medals, four of them gold, to be clear leaders at the top ahead of Germany who won two golds. See the medal here

Han Min-Su scores!! South Korea win in sudden-death penalties. A major blow to the home team in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin,

Russia miss. They will lose if South Korea score.

Russia score! 2-2. Now it's sudden-death...

Russian goaltender saves! Russia still have a chance but must score next one.

Russia score to stay alive. 2-1.

South Korea score again. 2-0.

Russia miss. Advantage South Korea...

South Korea score their first one. 1-0.

Overtime is now finishedwith no further scoring so it is a penalty shoot-out. Russia's ice hockey team lost one of these against the United States in front of Putin during the Olympics, remember?

We've just had another view of the VIP box and it's "very" with a capital V. Besides Putin and Mutko there is also Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Can they help inspire Russia to victory?

That's the end of the third period between Russia and South Korea and it is tied 2-2. So we have overtime.

I'm hearing that during his busy day Vladimir Putin also had time to meet Formula One supermo Bernie Ecclestone to discuss the inaugural Sochi Grand Prix which is due to take place around the Olympic Park on October 12. 

Less than five minutes left of final period. We could be heading for overtime.

The television camera pans to an unhappy looking Russian President Vladimir Putin who is in the Shabya Arena with Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. You may remember that Putin turned up to all of Russia's ice hockey matches during the Olympics and we know how that ended...

Has the pressure got to the home side because less than two-and-a-half minutes in this final period the South Koreans equalise thanks to a goal from Cho Byeong-Seok. The Russians have now blown a two-goal lead.

Russia and South Korea are playing a sledge hockey preliminary match in the final event of the opening day of Sochi 2014 ©Getty ImagesRussia and South Korea are playing a sledge hockey preliminary match in the final event of the opening day of Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

The players are back on the ice for the final period, which will also mark the end of the first day of competition at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics.

But the Russians lose concentration during a power-play and a long range effort from Han Min-Su means the South Koreans reduce the deficit to 2-1 as the second period comes to an end.

Great individual work from Evgeny Petrov in the final minute of the second period puts Russia 2-0 up against South Korea.

Break in play during the second period in match between Russia and South Korea and the crowd being entertained by The Birdie Song....

The players are back on the ice for the start of the second of the sledge hockey match between Russia and South Korea.

Fallen Paralympic hero

 Of course, less than two years ago at London 2012, South Africa's Oscar Pistorius was the biggest Paralympic star in the world. But his star has fallen considerably since then and he is now facing charges that he murdered his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

His trial in Pretoria is now dominating the South African news agenda. insidethegames has been following the trial each day. You can read our latest report here

Russia has had plenty of possession in this period but it has taken them until 40.8 seconds before the end of the first period to break down the stubborn South Korean defence thanks a goal from Vasily Varlakov. So they will go in 1-0 at the end of the opening period. 

Approaching 10 minutes of the opening period at the Shayba Arena and it is 0-0 between Russia and South Korea.

Last event of the first day of Sochi 2014 coming up...

The last event of the day is about to start, a sledge hockey match between hosts Russia and South Korea at the Shayba Arena. 

Russia have been a team on the rise since their inception prior to Vancouver 2010. Last year, they placed third at the World Championships, defeating the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal game.

For South Korea, they earned their number six ranking by edging out Italy in a shootout at the Qualification Tournament.

When Russia and South Korea met at last year's World Championships, Russia barely beat them, 2-1. Russian forward Dmitry Lisov scored a goal and an assist in the win.

With hosting the Games comes added pressure, and Russia's head coach Sergei Samoylov said that his team notices it.

"Of course, everybody feels it. It's not so much pressure as responsibility, a great responsibility before the fans, the team and the management that took care of us and is taking care of us," Samoylov said.

Twitter2Wow! #Sochi2014 is less than 24 hours old & already the IPC website had had more visitors than the whole of the Vancouver 2010
These Winter Paralympics are proving wildly more popular than the last event four years ago, according to IPC communications director Craig Spence 

Attention will soon begin turning to the legacy of the venues built for Sochi 2014. So news that plans to turn Sochi's Iceberg Skating Palace, which hosted figure skating and short track speed skating during last month's Olympics, into a velodrome so it could be a centre for Russia's track cycling programme appear to have been shelved by officials will attract interest.

Find out more about this story here

Twitter2Nothing is impossible! On monoski at crazy speed! These guys are cool!
Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko is amazed at some of the skills displayed by the Paralympic skiers 

Ukrainian dedicates medal to independence in her country

Olena Iurkovska said her bronze medal in the 6km sitting biathlon was dedicated to Ukrainian independence ©Getty ImagesOlena Iurkovska said her bronze medal in the 6km sitting biathlon was dedicated to Ukrainian independence ©Getty Images

Ukraine's first medalist of the Sochi Paralympics (see 10:44) dedicated her achievement to her country's independence and appealed for peace with Russia.

Olena Iurkovska won bronze on the first morning of competition, just hours after Ukraine's Paralympics team decided to attend the 10-day event despite Russia's military occupation of Crimea.

Iurkovska finished third in the women's 6km sitting biathlon event, just behind Svetlana Konovalova of Russia, who took silver.

"I devote my first medal in Sochi to an independent Ukraine," Iurkovska said. "Every time I race, it will be for Ukrainian independence and peace in my country."

Of course the Italian had to do without Igor Stella, who has been sent home after testing positive for anabolic steroids making him the first athlete to test positive at these Paralympics. Read our full report here

A momentary fright for the US as Italy put one back but with 4.9 seconds left Paul Schaus finds the net to make it a 5-1 final victory. 

The US are on course in the defence of their title.

And Canada show their champion credentials by eeking out a 5-4 win over Russia. The crowd may be disappointed - but Canada are the two time defending champions for a reason. They are the only team to win twice on day one so far. 

Sweden hold on to beat Finland 7-6 in the curling. China beat Norway 7-5. 

The US are looking comfortable now in the ice sledge hockey as they move 4-0 ahead of Italy. 

The US wheelchair curling team have been beaten by South Korea this afternoon ©Getty Images
The US wheelchair curling team have been beaten by South Korea this afternoon  ©Getty Images

But we have our first result of the afternoon as South Korea beat the US 9-5. The perfect response from the South Korean after their 10-0 humiliation at the hands of Norway earlier on.

A thrilling conclusion is in order in the curling - as Canada and Russia are locked at 4-4. Sweden meanwhile, have moved 7-5 ahead of Finland while China are heading to victory against Norway.

Lest we forget, today is International Women's Day and never one to miss an opportunity, we have had our first glimpse of Russian President Vladimir Putin today.

Putin has been meeting female volunteers and members of the Russian delegation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with female Russian Paralympic delegation members and volunteers ©Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with female Russian Paralympic delegation members and volunteers ©Getty Images

17:38 Italy are just about hanging on now in this match. They survive the final two minutes of the second period a man down after Giuseppe Condello is sent to the penalty box for teeing. 2-0 to the US with one period to play.

17:33 The US have taken a 2-0 lead over Italy in the ice sledge hockey as 15-year-old Brody Roybal pounces on a loose puck to drill home a second. 

17:31 In the other matches still ongoing in the Curling Centre, South Korea lead the US 5-3, China are 6-3 up on Norway and Sweden are fighting back - they now lead Finland 6-5. 

17:26 Just like they did in their opening match against Britain, double defending champions Canada are not producing their best curling, but are getting it done when it matters. They are 4-3 ahead of host nation Russia

17:15 Lots of chances for the US in the second period of the sledge hockey. But they are occasionally stretched in defence and Italy are very much still in this match. It remains 1-0 to the defending champions. 

United States versus Italy in the latest ice sledge hockey clash ©Getty ImagesUnited States versus Italy in the latest ice sledge hockey clash ©Getty Images

17:02 Italy were one of three teams to secure their place in Sochi via the IPC Qualification Tournament last October - which they hosted in Turin. 

South Korea and Sweden were the other two to qualify in Turin while the other five teams, including the US, were automatic entries.

16:58 The latest ice sledge hockey match has also begun at the Shaiba Arena - with defending champions the United States taking a 1-0 lead over Italy in the first period. 

16:50 After their excellent victory this morning, it is not going so well for Norway this time around as they trail 5-1 to China. 

South Korea still lead the US, by a 6-4 margin now, while Russia are 2-1 up on Canada. 

16:41 Back to the sport and Finland are edging Sweden 5-4 in a thrilling North European clash in the wheelchair curling round robin clash.

Generations for Peace camp opens in Sochi

16:37 The Generations For Peace Sochi 2014 camp has officially opened today - welcoming 71 delegates from eight countries to Sochi for eight days of intensive peace-building training.

The camp follows previous ones in 2010 and 2011 attended by 109 youth leaders from 12 countries - who have in turn training many others in their local communities. Part of the 'Legacy Today' Programme, a five-year partnership between Generations For Peace, Sochi 2014 and Sochi City Administration, delegates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Serbia, and Turkmenistan are attending as well as many from Russia.

Generations for Peace chief executive Mark Clark with the Sochi 2014 chief knowledge officer Alexander Bryantsev at the opening ©Generations For PeaceGenerations for Peace chief executive Mark Clark with the Sochi 2014 chief knowledge officer Alexander Bryantsev at the opening ©Generations For Peace

After watching the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics last night, the delegates will will spend the next eight day developing their knowledge of conflict analysis, programme design and monitoring and evaluation - enabling them to strengthen their plans for their own future programmes.

They will also practice peace-building skills using dynamic sport-based games, arts-based activities, advocacy, dialogue and empowerment.

16:17 South Korea lead the US 3-1 and China are 2-1 up  on Norway in the other two matches currently on the ice. 

16:14 Back in Sochi and Sweden have pegged back Finland to 3-3 in the wheelchair curling while it is all square at 1-1 between Canada and Russia. 

15:59 Lots of other sport going on around the world this Saturday afternoon. Including the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Sopot, Poland - where the afternoon session is just coming to a close.

In the last hour we saw the return of Veronica Campbell-Brown to the world stage following the overturning of her doping ban. She has some work to do though as she only qualified in third place in her heat in 7.22 seconds. Read our article on her return here. 

15:47 The second round of wheelchair curling matches begun a few minutes ago in the Curling Centre. Sweden have already received an ice sledge hockey thrashing today and, after not playing this morning, their curling campaign is not going too well so far either. They trail Finland 3-0 after one end.

Much better for South Korea though. After losing 10-0 to Norway this morning, the Vancouver 2010 runners-up are trying to bounce back and currently lead the US 3-0.

China are 2-0 up on Norway and Russia 1-0 ahead of Canada in the other matches. 

France15:36 A good day for France on the slopes of Ros Khutor - as they claim two standing skiing medals - gold for Marie Bochet and bronze for Vincent Gauthier-Manuel.

France's two medal winners, including standing champion Marie Bochet, pose with French skiing legend and Sochi 2014 Coordination Commission chairman Jean-Claude Killy ©TwitterFrance's two medal winners pose with French skiing legend and Sochi 2014 Coordination Commission chairman Jean-Claude Killy

15:29 Still lots of action to come though away from the medals on day one in Sochi - with ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling action to entertain us this afternoon.

15:24 There was beautiful weather this morning as 12 sets of medals were won in the sports of biathlon and downhill Alpine skiing. Russia led the way in biathlon with four gold medals, although perhaps the highlight was an emotional victory for Ukrainian Vitaliy Lukyanenko in the men's 7.5km visually impaired event. 

In Alpine skiing, the gold medals were shared among six different nations: Austria, Japan, Germany, Slovakia, Spain and France - although crashes on the treacherous course were the order of the day. 

The most serious was suffered by US skier Tyler Walker and we will bring you updates on the state of his injury as we get them. 

There was beautiful weather in Sochi for the Alpine events this morning ©AFP/Getty ImagesThere was beautiful weather in Sochi for the Alpine events this morning
©AFP/Getty Images

15:12 One athlete who we will see once the cross country events get underway is of the biggest names in Paralympic sport in wheelchair athlete turned skier Tatyana McFadden. 

McFadden has described how competing in front of both her biological and adopted mother in Sochi will be the fulfilment of a dream. Read our article here.

15:04 The next sporting action gets underway in twenty minutes or so with the second bout of wheelchair curling round robin matches. 

Canada and Russia face off after each winning this morning, over Britain and China respectively, while Sweden face Finland, the US are up against South Korea and Norway take on China.  

14:54 Final buzzer goes and Canada beat Sweden 10-1. Adam Dixon, Anthony Gayle and Dominic Larocque all score twice each as the goals are spread around the Canadian team. Pretty good for their goal difference that win, it is fair to say. 

14:52 Canada have made a superb start in their bid to avenge  a disappointing fourth place at Vancouver 2010 and repeat their Turin 2006 gold medal. Sweden were fighting back in the third period only for the Canadians to score three more times and lead 10-1 with one minute to go. 

Europe's "The Final Countdown" is being player, presumably not coincidentally, in the final 40 seconds in the Shayba Arena. 

14:48 Ice sledge hockey has been on the Paralympic programme since Lillehammer 1994. Many of the rules and regulations are the same as in ice hockey but instead of skates the competitors use specially designed sledges to move around the ice.

They also have two playing sticks with a spike on one end and a blade on the other - with the dual purpose of propelling the sledges around the ice and controlling and shooting the puck. There is no points classification system in sledge hockey - but all athletes have a lower limb impairment. Technically, teams can include both men and women, but none of the teams in Sochi will have a female player.

Each game is made up of three periods of 15 minutes each and there are 15 players in a team, but only five outfield players and one netminder are allowed on the ice at any time.

14:40 Action is still ongoing in the Shayba Arena - although Sweden would be rather hoping it will be over soon.

They trail 7-1 to the world champions Canada with ten minutes to go in the third period. 

Suur-Hamari named IPC Athlete of the Month for February

14:34 We saw a gold medal this morning for the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Athlete of the Month for January in Markus Salcher of Austria. The February winner has been announced this week as Finnish snowboarder Matti Suur-Hamari. 

Read our article on the award here. 

14:28 A little bit of time to reflect on what we have seen on day one now and - in the Alpine skiing at least, crashes have been the order of the day.

The most serious involved Tyler Walker who was carried off on a stretcher...but fortunately we have already received good news from the US team. 

Twitter2#TeamUSA's Tyler Walker (@tbone_walker) is stable and conscious after crash in men's downhill (sitting) at #Paralympics.
US Paralympics provide a positive update on the state of Tyler Walker following his crash this morning.

Sit-skier Frederic Francois of France ©AFP/Getty ImagesSit-skier Frederic Francois of France ©AFP/Getty Images

Kirk Schornstein of Canada ©AFP/Getty ImagesKirk Schornstein of Canada
©AFP/Getty Images

Tyler Walker of the United States ©AFP/Getty ImagesTyler Walker of the United States ©AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine flag

So Ukraine win the final medal of the day in Sochi and by doing so move into third place on the medals table. 

But Russia still lead the way after some biathlon brilliance on day one. Germany lie second after winning two gold medals in barely ten minutes earlier on.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal14:18 Now we can confirm that Ukraine have won their first gold medal of Sochi 2014 and, as it had to be, a Russian skier finishes in second place. Vitaliy Lukyanenko wins the gold medal ahead of Nikolay Polukhin.

Bronze goes to Vasili Shaptsoaboi of Belarus. 

14:13 Vasili Shaptsoaboi of Belarus moves into the bronze medal position. But Lukyanenko's time of 20min 18.80sec is looking increasingly unbeatable.

14:10 Iurii Utkin lies third for Ukraine as well while Stanislav Chokhlaev of Russia is only good enough for fourth place. Good to see some Ukrainian flags flying in the March breeze as well as they close in on a first gold medal of the Games. 

14:07 Silence at the Laura Biathlon course as Lukyanenko crosses the line 11 seconds faster than Russia's Polukhin to take the lead. 

There are still other biathletes out on the course, but have we just seen a poignant political Olympic moment as Ukraine beat Russia to a gold medal?

14:05 Back to today's event and Russia's Nikolay Polukhin is the leader in the "club-house" in the men's visually impaired event...but Ukraine's Vitaliy Lukyanenko was the halfway leader and is still out on the course in the staggered start.

Positive B samples for Starykh and Iourieva

14:01 Starykh was withdrawn from the Russian Olympic team after news of her positive test emerged and she now faces a two year ban from the sport. Read our coverage of the original failure here and here

Iourieva meanwhile, was not in the Russian Olympic team but the former world champion had already served a two year ban for a previous failed test and consequently faces a life ban from the sport - although she did announce her retirement anyway last week. 

Both athletes will be heard by the IBU anti-doping panel in Salzburg within the next few weeks.

13:58 Some non-Paralympic biathlon news to bring you now. Russian biathletes Irina Starykh and Ekaterina Iourieva have profuced positive B samples after their original failed drugs tests in January. 

An International Biathlon Union (IBU) statement today has confirmed that both have tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) in both samples.

13:56 In pursuit of more success for Russia, Nikolay Polukhin leads into the first shoot...but he misses one target and will have to do an extra 150m loop as a result. 

13:54 Up at the Laura Biathlon Centre - a 50km or so journey which requires two buses, a cable-car and another mini-bus - the final event of the day has begun. 

13:50 Canada did not win a medal on home ice in Vancouver but are the reigning world champion and after - after winning both Olympic titles in curling and ice hockey - are looking for another clean sweep here.

It is fair to say they have started well. 

13:47 A little while yet until the next round of wheelchair curling matches begin but there is an ice sledge hockey match currently going.

And Canada are cruising in the second period against Sweden. They lead 4-0.

There was success for Russia in curling as well this morning as Marat Romanov celebrates victory over ChinaThere was success for Russia in curling as well this morning as Marat Romanov celebrates victory over China ©Getty Images

13:40 That is a first individual Paralympic title for the six time 2013 world champion Lysova. The 21-year old won five medals as a teenager in Vancouver - with her one gold coming in the 3 x 2.5 kilometre cross country relay. 

She was, of course, helped by her guide Alexey Ivanov.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal13:34 Mikhalina Lysova wins Russia's fourth biathlon gold medal of the day. 

Utter dominance from Lysova as she completes a flawless final shoot and wins the gold medal by 28 seconds. And it is a Russian 1-2 as Iuliia Budaleeva takes silver despite a missed shot.

Bronze goes to Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine as Hoesch of Germany only finished 5th. 

13:26 Lysova has now stretched her lead to over a minute - with Vivian Hoesch of Germany moving into second place. 

In case you are wondering, visually impaired biathletes shoot with an electronic rifle that uses acoustic signals to help them aim at the targets. They also have a sighted guide and a slightly bigger target - 30mm diameter instead of the 20mm ones used in standing and sitting events.

Biathlon events have been on the Paralympic programme since 1988 - with visually impaired disciplines added four years later in 1992. 

13:20 But there has been plenty of success for the home crowd up at the Laura Ski and Biathlon Centre today - with two gold medals so far. We look set for more as Russia are sweeping the podium positions at the moment in the women's 6km visually impaired event.

Mikhalina Lysova is the current leader. 

There have been spills in the biathlon as well as the downhill on day one... with Russian Vladislav Lekomtcev one to take a tumble ©Getty ImagesThere have been spills in the biathlon as well as the downhill on day one... with Russian Vladislav Lekomtcev one to take a tumble ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal13:11 Akira Kano of Japan wins the men's standing downhill gold medal. No change at the top of the leaderboard as Josh Dueck of Canada takes silver and the bronze goes to Takeshi Suzuki of Japan.

13:09 Lots of other action just beginning in the afternoon session as Canada face Sweden in ice sledge hockey and the visually impaired events get underway in biathlon.

13;06 Kano won bronze in this event in Vancouver before taking gold in the Super G. But the man who finished two places ahead of him four years ago, Christoph Kunz of Switzerland, is well off the pace down in ninth place. 

It was also a bad day on the slopes for the Vancouver runner-up Taiki Mori of Japan - one of nine skiers to fail to finish the tough course. But, the depth of the Japanese team is incredible as they still look poised for two medals. 

13:04 Just a few skiers left now in the sit-ski event - with Kano of Japan leading from Dueck of Canada and another Japanese skier in Takeshi Suzuki.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal13:02 Vladislav Lekomtcev of Russia takes the men's standing gold medal ahead of Mark Arendz of Canada and Azat Karachurin of Russia.

13:00 Australian standing skier Cameron Rahles-Rahbula was also ruled out of today's event after a training crash but - after carrying the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony yesterday - he hopes to be fit for his other events later in the Games. 

12:56 This is the event that Britain's Mick Brennan pulled out of in protest at the "scary" nature of the course. And the colder weather today is certainly making conditions extra-fast, with much quicker times being posted than on training runs earlier in the week. 

Thankfully, no serious injuries as of yet though. 

12:53 A few crashes holding up proceedings in the sit-skiing event...but Akiro Kano becomes the first man to break the 1 min 24 barrier to take the lead for Japan. 

Twitter2Proud of Jade Etherington, who won silver in the women's visually impaired downhill in Sochi. #GoParalympicsGB
- British Prime Minister David Cameron tweets his congratulations after Jade Etherington wins Britain's first Alpine skiing Paralympic medal since 1994. 

12:46 That result puts Russia at the top of the medals table with two gold, four silver and one bronze medal. Not a bad few hours work for the host nation. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal12:41 Gold medal number two for Russia as Alena Kaufman holds on to cross the line first in the women's 6km standing biathlon.

She won by a full 30 seconds from compatriot Anna Milenina - who managed to come second despite accruing two shooting penalties. 

Third place went to Iuliia Batenkova of Ukraine.

Three Paralympic legends inducted into Paralympic Hall of Fame

12:33 Spanish visually impaired skier Eric Villalon Fuentes, German visually impaired skier Verena Bentele and US cross-country skiing coach Jon Kreamelmeyer were all inducted into the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame this morning at the Ayvazovsky Hotel.

Launched in 2006 the Paralympic Hall of Fame aims to recognise retired athletes and coaches who have a track record of excellent athletic performance, history of fair play and participation in community activities.

Villalon Fuentes competed in the Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002 and Turin 2006 Paralympic Winter Games as a visually impaired skier. He won five golds, three silvers and a bronze, making him Spain's most successful Winter Paralympian of all-time. He also won five gold and one bronze medal at various World Championships.

Bentele is the most successful female biathlete of all-time and the second most successful cross-country skier. In four Paralympic Winter Games, she won 12 golds, two silver and two bronze medals in the visually impaired class.

She saved her best for last by winning five golds in as many events at the Vancouver 2010 Games. After Vancouver, she retired at age 29 and in 2011 was named Best Female at the Paralympic Sport Awards and won the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award.

Kreamelmeyer was an athlete guide for cross-country skier Michelle Drolet at the Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994 Paralympics, winning a bronze in the 1994 Games.

He then served as the head coach of the USA's Paralympic cross-country skiing team from 1998-2006, during which time US athletes claimed 11 Paralympic podium positions, as well numerous World Cup wins and podium finishes.

12:28 After a frantic morning it is already the sixth and final event of the day on the downhill slopes. Josh Dueck of Canada leads the way at the moment in the men's sitting event after stopping the clock at 1min 24.19sec.

But over half of the field are still to come.

12:20 Alena Kaufman of Russia duly has the lead after 4km. Could a second home gold be on the way?

12:13 Russia have already taken their first gold medal courtesy of biathlete Roman Petushkov this morning. And they have more chances in the women's 6km standing event now underway. 

Roman Petushkov celebrates winning the first Russian gold medal of Sochi 2014 ©Getty ImagesRoman Petushkov celebrates winning the first Russian gold medal of Sochi 2014
©Getty Images

12:07 Some curling results to bring you now. Despite something of a scare double defending champions Canada eventually beat Great Britain 6-3, Slovakia edged out the United States 6-4 and a good morning gets better for Russia as their team defeats China 5-4. 

11:59 With seven sets of medals having already been won the insidethegames medals table is up and running. It shows Germany at the top of the golds pile but Russia leading the way in terms of total medals won. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal11:54 And it is a gold medal for Austria as Markus Salcher stays at the top of the standings to win the men's standing class by just 0.06 of a second. 

There is another Russian medal as Alexey Bugaev takes silver - while Vincent Gauthier-Manuel of France claims bronze.

11:50 And Norway's team sport morning has just got even better as Rolf Einar Pederson's strike powers the puck home to win the ice sledge hockey shoot out against the Czech Republic. 

The rest of the tournament will have a lot to live up to after that opener.

11:48 Still all to play for in the other matches though as China and Russia remain tied at 4-4 and Slovakia lead the US by the narrowest of 5-4 margins. 

11:45 Action is also hotting up as the first round of curling matches come to the business end. The lack of sweeping seems to make the results slightly less predictable than the Olympic version and - despite holding strong positions in the sixth and seventh ends - Britain concede one point on each occasion and now trail 5-3 to Canada with one end to come.

Norway have become the first team to win a match after thrashing the hapless Vancouver 2010 runners-up South Korea 10-0.

11:41 It has been a fairly frustrating morning for Austria so far in the Alpine events but Markus Salcher is looking to change all of that. He is the leader so far in the standing class. 

11:38 Over in the Shayba Arena the opening ice sledge hockey match between Norway and the Czech Republic has gone to penalty shots after overtime failed to split the teams from a 1-1 scoreline. 

Memories of the US v Russia at the Olympics coming back already...

11:30 The men's standing class is the latest Alpine skiing event to commence - with more skiers in the male than the female events hence a little bit longer for each event to pan out.

spain flag11:24 So Spain may not have won a single medal at the Sochi 2014 Olympics but it has not taken them long to win a first golden one here at the Paralympics. 

Yon Santacana Maiztegui wins gold for Spain in the visually impaired downhill ©Getty ImagesYon Santacana Maiztegui wins gold for Spain in the visually impaired downhill
©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal11:17 Yon Santacana Maiztegui of Spain wins the men's visually impaired downhill event. Miroslav Harous of Slovakia takes silver as the European country follows their gold in the corresponding women's event.

Bronze goes to Mac Marcoux to claim the first Canadian medal of the Games. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal11:12 First gold of the Paralympic Games for Russia! Roman Petushkov wins the men's 7.5km sitting biathlon!

A first Paralympic gold medal for the Russian after five victories across the biathlon and cross country events at the 2013 World Championships.

Silver goes to another Ukrainian in Maksym Yarovyi who finishes eight seconds behind - while Kozo Kubo of Japan takes bronze. 

11:07 Meanwhile back at Rosa Khutor it is the turn of the men now with the visually impaired event. Yon Santacana Maiztegui of Spain is the current leader with nine of the 11 skiers having gone. 

11:01 Czech Republic have levelled things up in the ice sledge hockey - Michal Geier scoring the equaliser against Norway. Canada have also drawn level in the curling. They are locked at 3-3 with Great Britain after five of eight ends in their round-robin opener.

Twitter2Many congratulation @DChernyshenko on a wonderful Ceremony and start to #Sochi 2014. Your speech inspired us all. Now let the Games begin! 
- British Paralympic Association Tim Hollingworth enjoyed the Opening Ceremony last night. He will be enjoying this monring as well as Jade Etherington has already won Britain's first Winter Paralympic medal for eight years.

Day One medals action

German flagIt has been Germany's day so far in Sochi though with two gold medals - in biathlon and downhill Alpine skiing - as they start the Paralympics just as well as when they led the medals table for the first week of the Olympics last month. 

10:53 Audun Bakke has scored the first goal of the Paralympic ice sledge hockey competition as Norway lead 1-0 over the Czech Republic after two periods in the Shayba Arena.

10:50 Scores on the doors in the curling. It is 2-2 between Russia and China, Norway have taken a shock 5-0 lead over Vancouver silver medal winners South Korea, Slovakia are edging the US 3-2 and Great Britain are also 3-2 up - on Canada. 

Canada have won the gold medal on both occasions that wheelchair curling has been contested at the Winter Paralympics so if Britain can keep that up - and its a big if - that would be a huge surprise. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal10:47 What a ten minute period for Germany as Anna Schaffelhuber takes their second gold medal in ten minutes. She wins the downhill sitting event ahead of two Americans - defending champion Alana Nichols and Laurie Stephens. 

10:44 Back underway in the sit-ski event and another crash as Anna Turney of Great Britain crashes out on the treacherous middle section.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal10:40 Andrea Eskau of Germany wins the women's 6km sitting biathlon. Svetlana Konovalova of Russia takes silver and - a first medal of Sochi 2014 for Ukraine - as Olena Iurkovska takes bronze.

Russia and Ukraine sharing Nordic skiing podiums is going to be something we will get used to in Soch but it does provide another opportunity for the team to in some way repeat their protest of only sending the flagbearer to the Opening Ceremony parade last night. 

10:38 A break for retrieve Loesch for the netting...although we can confirm she seems unhurt and skies tentatively off to rapturous applause, as it provides us with an opportunity to update you on what is happening elsewhere...

10:34 Big crash as Austrian contender Claudia Loesch slides off the course and into the netting. Brutal conditions up there at the moment...

10:32 Nichols seems off the pace though as she finishes behind Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber.

10:28 The sit-ski event is up next - where athletes compete from a sitting position using a specially fitted seat with a suspension device, which is attached to a single ski.

Defending champion is Alana Nichols of the US - who also won a wheelchair basketball gold medal at the Bejing 2008 Games. 

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal10:23 Gold in the women's standing downhill event goes to Marie Bochet of France 

Irina Medvedeva of Russia takes silver and the bronze goes to Allison Jones of the US. 

Three skiers, including medal contender Andrea Rothfuss of Germany, crashed out on a course which is proving just as tough as during the Olympics last month. 

10:18 The women's 6km sitting biathlon events is also underway - with Oksana Masters of the US the early leader - but the medals action is coming thick and fast on the downhill.

Henrieta Farksova takes the first gold medal of Sochi 2014 ©Getty ImagesHenrieta Farksova takes the first gold medal of Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medal10:12 The first gold of Sochi 2014 goes to Slovakia! Melissa Perrine of Australia is last to go and only good enough for fifth place so Henrieta Farkasova and guide Natalia Subertova take the win.

An excelled silver for Etherington and guide Caroline Powell while it did not take long for the first home medal of the Games as Aleksandra Frantceva and guide Pavel Zabotin of Russia take bronze. 

10:10 Only six skiers in this event. Britain's Jade Etherington has moved into second place but teammate Kirsty Gallagher lies outside the medals. In third place is Russia's Aleksandra Frantceva.

Just one skier to go. 

10:07 In the visually impaired event skiers have an option of competing with a guide to help them down the course. First up is Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia who speeds down the course in a time of 1min 31.55sec. That may take some beating. 

10:04 Six medals are up the grabs and the action will come thick and fast. First up is the women's visually impaired event. 

10:01 It is 0-0 in the first period in the ice sledge hockey match between Norway and the Czech Republic - we will bring you more information about how exactly that sport works in good time - but for the moment we are heading up to the Rosa Khutor Mountain Resort for the downhill action. 

How does wheelchair curling work?

09:56 Wheelchair curling is also the only sport to include mixed teams of men and women in Sochi - but Great Britain's Aileen Neilson is the only female skip in Sochi. She has started well as her team take a 1-0 lead in the early stages of their match against Canada. 

A good start also for China as they take a 1-0 lead against Russia while Slovakia are 2-0 up on the United States. 

09:48 Wheelcahir curling is played by athletes who have a permanent impairment in the lower half of their body. Many of the rules and regulations are the same as Olympic curling, but the main difference is that instead of sliding down the ice the players deliver their stones from stationary wheelchairs.

A 'buddy' system, holding the back of the wheelchair of the curler in play to stop it sliding on the ice. Players can also use a delivery stick to push the stones but sweeping - i.e. using a brush to clean the surface of the ice - is not permitted.

The four players in each team throw two stones during an end with a team scoring one point for each of its stones that are closer to the centre of the rings than any of the opposition's stones. The team with the most points wins the end with a match consisting of eight ends overall. 

09:41 We will bring update you on that story as more  news emerges but, for now at least, it is onto the sport in Sochi as the Winter Paralympic Games have BEGUN!

Italian ice sledge hockey player withdrawn from Games after positive drugs test

09:35 This follows six failed drugs tests at the Olympic Games - including one Italian in bobsledder William Frullani. 

Vancouver 2010 veteran Igor Stella has been sent home after a postitive drugs test ©Bongarts/Getty ImagesVancouver 2010 veteran Igor Stella has been sent home after a postitive drugs test ©Bongarts/Getty Images

09:28 But we will be bringing you all the action away from the sport in Sochi as well and - after a build-up dominated by events in Ukraine - there is more news of a non-sporting kind this morning in the form of the first positive doping test of the Games. 

After a spate of failed tests in the latter days of Sochi 2014, it has been revealed that Italian ice sledge hockey forward Igor Stella has failed a test and been withdrawn from the Games.

According to the Italian sledge hockey spokesperson Daniela Quargnali, anabolic steroids entered his system with a cream that he used to treat a skin lesion.

The 32-year-old started using it a month prior to the Paralympics, but did not notify the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Quargnali added.

"He is suspended from the Games and in two days there will be proceedings against him where he can explain his reasons," said Quargnali. "He didn't know that it was anabolic steriods in the cream. He got it in a hospital in Milan a month ago, they didn't tell him what it contained.

Stella was a part of the Italian team which finished in seventh place at the Vancouver 2010 Games four years ago.

09:20 There is also an opening match in ice sledge hockey about to begin - with Vancouver 2010 bronze medal winners Norway facing Czech Republic.

There is then scarcely another half an hour to wait before the medal action begins in the mountains with Alpine skiing downhill and biathlon action. 

And all the medals action will be brought to you right here, as it happens, on the insidethegames live blog throughout the day, and on every day of these historic Paralympic Winter Games. 

09:16 If you followed our Olympic live blog where curling matches were occurring at time when no other sport was being considered it will come as no surprise that wheelchair curling is up first this morning with four matches - led by what should be a cracker of an opener as two time defending champion Canada take on Great Britain in a rematch of the Turin 2006 final.

It is also host nation Russia versus China, defending silver medallists South Korea versus Norway and Slovakia against the United States. 

Ukrainian flagbearer Mykailo Tkachenko enters the stadium on his own during the athletes parade ©AFP/Getty ImagesUkrainian flagbearer Mykailo Tkachenko enters the stadium on his own during the athletes parade ©AFP/Getty Images

09:05 It seems both and long time and no time at all since the sporting feast that was the Sochi 2014 Olympics Games got underway exactly a month ago.

A lot has certainly happened in the world since then.

But, after the extravagance, excitement and drama of the Opening Ceremony last night, all that we are waiting for now is for sport to return to the slopes and ice of Sochi - which it will do in less than half an hours time!

09:00 Good morning and welcome to Day One of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi.