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http://www.paralympic.org/press-release/stoke-mandeville-be-part-all-future-paralympic-games-torch-relays

To mark the first anniversary since the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) today (29 August) announced that the UK will be involved in all future Paralympic Games Torch Relays starting as soon as next March, in recognition that Stoke Mandeville, in Buckinghamshire is the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement.

The announcement came on the same day IPC President Sir Philip Craven was at Stoke Mandeville to unveil a giant five metre high Agitos - the Paralympic Movement’s symbol - that has been permanently installed at Stoke Mandeville hospital to mark its role in the origins of the Paralympic Movement.

It was in 1948 that Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a German spinal injuries doctor, created the Stoke Mandeville Games, an event that was the forerunner for the Paralympic Games that were first held in Rome, Italy in 1960.

Next year the eleventh Paralympic Winter Games will take place in Sochi, Russia and thanks to today’s announcement Stoke Mandeville will become the first place in history to be involved in the Paralympic Torch Relay outside of the Games hosting country.

Sochi’s Paralympic Torch Relay will take place between 26 February and 7 March. It will visit 46 cities in all eight Russian Federal districts, as well as Stoke Mandeville – the only international component of the relay - and will involve over 1,500 torchbearers.

Over 10 days several cities in parallel will host a day long Flame Festival aiming to ignite sparks and thus symbolising the energy and support to the Paralympic Games and their athletes. All Flame Festivals will start with a flame lighting ceremony before torchbearers take it on a tour of the local area giving as many people as possible to see the flame and engage with it.

Each event will climax with a Flame Celebration, whereby the local community bid farewell to the flame before it heads to Sochi to merge with all other flames in a special ceremony on 5 March. This unification of the flames will create the official Paralympic Flame of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games which will be used in a final relay before the Opening Ceremony on 7 March.

In the UK, the Sochi Flame Celebration will pilot what will happen in future Games. A Flame Lighting Ceremony will take place on 1 March at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, this will then visit several local landmarks before a Flame Celebration is held to send it on its way to Sochi.

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President said: “The Torch Relay is a significant event in the staging of every Paralympics and it is fitting that for each future edition of the Games we celebrate Stoke Mandeville’s rich history and proud heritage as the Paralympic Movement’s spiritual birthplace.

“By always hosting a leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay ahead of each Games we are ensuring that the role of Sir Ludwig Guttmann and Stoke Mandeville in helping to create the foundations for what is now one of the world’s biggest sporting events is communicated around the world and never forgotten.”

Tim Reddish, Chair of the British Paralympic Association, said: “At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the whole nation showed what huge support there is for the Paralympic movement in this country and I’m sure some of that reflects the pride we feel that the birthplace of the Paralympic movement is acknowledged to be here at Stoke Mandeville. It is fitting therefore that this will be recognised in all future Paralympic Games through the Heritage Flame. Whilst the Sochi Flame celebrations here in the UK will be a pilot and therefore smaller in scale, we are all tremendously excited that this concept will be taking place in six months time and would like to thank the IPC, and the local partners here in Buckinghamshire for their enthusiasm and support for this project.”

Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, said: “The opportunity to include Stoke Mandeville in the Paralympic Torch Relay program adds an incredibly exciting start to the Sochi 2014 Relay. We can be proud that our Games will be the first one to take the torch from the very birthplace of the global Paralympic Movement.”

Councillor Carl Etholen, Chairperson of the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board, said “We are delighted that Sir Phillip Craven has been able to join us for the anniversary of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Here in Buckinghamshire we are extremely proud of the role played by Stoke Mandeville in the birth of the Paralympic movement and are honoured that the International Paralympic Committee has given Stoke Mandeville the opportunity to play a special role in Paralympic flame celebrations.”

In a day of Paralympic celebrations at Stoke Mandeville, Eva Loeffler, the daughter of Sir Ludwig Guttmann helped unveil a statue of her father produced by the Poppa Guttmann Trust. The statue, which is sited outside of the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, will serve as an enduring tribute to the genius of a man to whom thousands owe their lives following a spinal cord injury. His initiation of The Stoke Mandeville Games on the first day of the 1948 Olympic Games in London demonstrated his vision and inspiration for parallel games.

Sir Phillip Craven visited a range of sporting activities at Stoke Mandeville Stadium accompanied by dignitaries from the British Paralympic Association and Buckinghamshire Councils, including a wheelchair basketball match featuring the Great Britain under 23 team, wheelchair archery featuring patients from Stoke Mandeville Hospital and tennis, cycling and athletics activities enjoyed by community groups. Other guests attending included multiple Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Christiansen fresh from winning three European Para-Dressage titles in Denmark last week. Guests were also able to learn about the future development plans for the stadium and community facilities which include improvements to the athletes’ accommodation, expansion of the sporting offer and development of a heritage, education and exhibition programme helping tell the story of Stoke Mandeville’s role in the birth and growth of the Paralympic movement.

i'm hoping with be more more fun and less serious (like a carry on film) with just a bit of emotion.

a bit of the NHS segment in london 2012 might be expected. minus the children.

i do hope arrow and archery is involved.

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I've said elsewhere on the forums what a stupid idea this is. Stoke Mandeville may technically claim to be the birth place of the Paralympics but it's no Olympia and I think the best way for Olympic hosts to promote their Paralympic Torch Relay is to actually use somewhere of local significance to light the flame.

Also the issue you could be waiting days for the sun to come out in Britain to light the damn thing!

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I've said elsewhere on the forums what a stupid idea this is. Stoke Mandeville may technically claim to be the birth place of the Paralympics but it's no Olympia and I think the best way for Olympic hosts to promote their Paralympic Torch Relay is to actually use somewhere of local significance to light the flame.

Also the issue you could be waiting days for the sun to come out in Britain to light the damn thing!

The Paralympics org Press Rep explained it to me that the lighting at Mandeville is but ONE of the however many lightings each host committee plans. It will be the ONLY int'l leg. They light it here, probably run it to Heathrow and then on to the plane. What I don't understand in the Rep's reply to me is that (as of October 2013) Russia will be using 46 points of origin. I think that's a little too much. They do have 10 cities with an Eternal Flame for their Unknown Soldiers; so those might actually be good starting points.

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http://www.insidethegames.biz/paralympics/winter-paralympics/2014/1018594-stoke-mandeville-set-to-welcome-sochi-2014-paralympic-torch-as-relay-begins

Stoke Mandeville set to welcome Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch as Relay begins By Gary Anderson

February 26 – The_Sochi_2014_Winter_Paralympic_Games_TThe birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville, is getting ready to welcome the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Torch this weekend as the official Relay gets underway today in the eastern-most point of Russia, Cape Dezhnev.

The Torch is set to visit 47 destinations across the vast expanse of host country Russia on its 10-day journey before arriving in Sochi for the official Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games on March 7.

In an historic first, the Torch will visit a destination outside of the Games host nation when it arrives in the Buckinghamshire town on Saturday (March 1) for a special Heritage Flame Ceremony at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

More than 600 invited guests, including Winter and Summer Paralympians and representatives from community groups, will attend the special Ceremony 66 years after Sir Ludwig Guttmann launched the Stoke Mandeville Games, the forerunner for the first Paralympic Games that were held in Rome in 1960.

During the Ceremony, Britain's London 2012 gold medallist Hannah Cockroft will light the first Heritage Flame from inside a specially designed artwork called the Armillary Sphere, created by acclaimed designer Jon Bausor, which references the Greek God Hephaestus, who is said to have invented the first wheelchair.

Olympic_champion_Hannah_Cockroft_will_liOlympic champion Hannah Cockroft will light the Heritage Flame in Stoke Mandeville as part of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay ©Getty Images



Stoke Mandeville Artist in Residence Rachel Gadsden, working with filmmaker Abigail Norris, has been commissioned to create a contemporary interpretation of the Hephaestus myth in the form of an animated film narrated by Sir Ian McKellen, who also performed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Director Mike Christie, who was responsible for the Channel Four documentary Inside Incredible Athletes, has created a short film especially for the event called I am Flame, also narrated by Sir Ian, and inspired by Stoke Mandeville's role in the Movement.

Music for the Ceremony has been composed by Dan Jones, an award-winning composer, sound designer and theatre director.

The Paralympic Heritage Flame project has been supported with £155,000 ($258,000/€188,000) of public money from the National Lottery through Arts Council England's Grants for the arts programme.

Bradley Hemmings, who was co-artistic director of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, is the artistic director of the project.

More_than_1000__Sochi_2014_Winter_ParalyMore than 1,000 Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Torches will be produced for the 10-day Relay ©Sochi 2014



"The inaugural Heritage Flame Lighting Festival will be a great event and Bradley's fantastic team have created something that will truly inspire and excite the audience and the British public," said chief executive of the British Paralympic Association (BPA), Tim Hollingsworth.

"It will be an excellent way to celebrate the birthplace of the movement as well as Britain's involvement in the Paralympic Winter Games, and get the British public excited about supporting ParalympicsGB in Sochi and beyond."

Channel 4 News will broadcast live footage of the Ceremony at 6:30pm on Saturday evening and some footage of this event will be used to show the start of the Paralympic Flame's journey to Sochi as part of the official Opening Ceremony on March 7.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch was created by Russian designers Vladimir Pirozhkov and Andrei Vodyanik and is sky blue to symbolise the strength and spirit of the Paralympic Movement, according to Sochi 2014 officials.

It is shaped like a feather and is 95 centimetres (37 inches) tall, weighing around 1.8 kilograms.

More than 1,000 Paralympic Torches have been produced for the Relay, which will visit major towns and cities across eight federal districts in Russia: Dalnevostochniy, Sibirskiy, Uralskiy, SeveroZapadniy, Tsentralniy, Privolzhskiy, SeveroKavkazskiy and Yuzhniy.

For more information on each of the destinations set to welcome the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch, click here.

Contact the writer of this story at gary.anderson@insidethegames.biz
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OOOh just watched it, that was a tad fancy wasn't it. I do like the idea of the athletes endeavour creating the flame

Nice little ceremony, but not Channel 4's finest eight minutes presentation-wise. I do wonder about the wisdom of making so much use of their news team for Paralympic ceremonies.

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Just saw this now. Why does it look so familiar? Was that used at the London 2012 Para Opening as something else? Will this be how they will light it from now on??

I wonder if this was the first mock-up of the Doha 2006 Astrolabe and they found a way to recycle it??

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Just saw this now. Why does it look so familiar? Was that used at the London 2012 Para Opening as something else? Will this be how they will light it from now on??

I wonder if this was the first mock-up of the Doha 2006 Astrolabe and they found a way to recycle it??

It's not the same as the 2012 one. I certainly thought "Doha" the moment I saw it in terms of the movement, but I guess it's just a visually striking and relatively easy action to implement (cf Contact).

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It's not the same as the 2012 one. I certainly thought "Doha" the moment I saw it in terms of the movement, but I guess it's just a visually striking and relatively easy action to implement (cf Contact).

It was the one used in 2012. Look at the photos again. There is an astrolabe there. What else did they do with that one??

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It was the one used in 2012. Look at the photos again. There is an astrolabe there. What else did they do with that one??

Well, they didn't re-use it at Stoke Mandeville, I'd say:

2012-Paralympics-Opening-Ceremony-Orrery

And note that they call it an orrery, not an astrolabe- I'd forgotten the right word, but by coincidence I was reminded of it yesterday at the M.A.D. gallery here in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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U're right; the one used at Stoke-Mandeville looks a lot bigger than that one -- altho both were designed by the same guy, Jon Bausor. And I wonder what they did with the 2012 OC one

But there is more than one strange coincidence because on StageOne's website, they have two other offices: one in Australia (where they did the first testing for the 2012 cauldron and I am sure where the 3 giant Sochi mascots were made) and one in Qatar. I mean funny, the first Astrolabe cauldron was the one used in Doha 2006. So I think what S-M got was probably a mock-up of the 2006 contraption.

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U're right; the one used at Stoke-Mandeville looks a lot bigger than that one -- altho both were designed by the same guy, Jon Bausor. And I wonder what they did with the 2012 OC one

But there is more than one strange coincidence because on StageOne's website, they have two other offices: one in Australia (where they did the first testing for the 2012 cauldron and I am sure where the 3 giant Sochi mascots were made) and one in Qatar. I mean funny, the first Astrolabe cauldron was the one used in Doha 2006. So I think what S-M got was probably a mock-up of the 2006 contraption.

This is definitely getting complicated! First, it turns out that the word "orrery" should only be used for the ones that show the planets orbiting in the ecliptic; the ones with circles flying in all directions are "sperical astrolabes" or "armillary spheres". Fourth, here's the relevant web page re the Doha sphere-thingy. So, it looks suspiciously as if the economy of Australia over much of the past decade has been dependant upon the manufacture of sphere-thingies for sporting events.

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