Team USA's Can't-Miss Paralympic Event For Saturday, March 10


At Friday's ceremony, South Korean President Moon Jae-in officially declared the Paralympics open in sub-zero temperatures before fireworks lit up the night sky.

The United States, with 68 athletes, brought the largest team, followed by Canada (52) and Japan (38), while Georgia and Tajikistan joins North Korea in making their Winter Paralympic debuts.

Despite the rift, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the North Koreans were cheered when they entered the arena at the Paralympics opening ceremony on Friday.

Other Ukrainian biathletes, including Lyudmila Lyashenko, Oksana Shishkova, Igor Reptukh also earned medals during the first day of the games.

In the stands of the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, spectators watching the North's first Winter Paralympians welcomed their presence as a sign of improving ties, and said they hoped the rapprochement would last.

"We are not rewarding Russian Federation but we are allowing athletes that we believe are clean to compete under a neutral flag", IPC president Andrew Parsons said.

He was supported by the excited dancing of partially-sighted skier Kelly Gallagher, who made history in Sochi four years ago by becoming Britain's first Winter Paralympic champion.

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A record 567 athletes will take part across nine days of competition.

"Although we are disappointed, we respect the decision of the two [National Paralympic Committees] who decided that marching separately would be better for both parties", said Andrew Parsons, the IPC president. He got into sports by playing wheelchair basketball in 2009 and also played para ice hockey in the past.

21-year-old alpine skier Momoka Muraoka led the Japanese delegation at the opening ceremony.

The International Paralympic Committee announced that the neighboring nations would have their own entourages on Thursday - just a day before the opening ceremony.

Para athletes from Russian Federation are participating in the 2018 Paralympics in the neutral status, or the Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA).

North Korea asked that the Dokdo Islands, which Japan now claims and calls Takeshima, be included on the flag, according to BBC.

It is a turnaround from past year, when tensions soared as the North fired missiles that could reach the USA mainland and tested what it said was an H-bomb.