Russia and Belarus have been banned from the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing according to Stephen Wade of the Associated Press. The Paralympics started on Friday with the opening ceremonies.
Russia and Belarus were initially allowed to compete as neutral athletes. However after the majority of the rest of the world opposed the International Paralympic Committee’s initial proposal, the IPC changed its mind on the matter. The reason for the ban is because Russia is in the process of invading the Ukraine, and they are going through Belarus to get to Ukraine.
There were initially to be 71 athletes from Russia and 12 athletes from Belarus who were to compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. At the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Russia competed as the Neutral Paralympic Athletes and won 24 medals (eight gold medals, 10 silver medals and six bronze medals). That was the third most medals behind the United States and Canada. The United States won the most medals with 36 medals (13 gold medals, 15 silver medals and eight bronze medals). Canada was second with 28 medals (eight gold medals, four silver medals, and 16 bronze medals).
Belarus meanwhile was seventh in the medal standings at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games with 12 medals (four gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals). Ukraine, which will still be competing at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, was fifth in the medal standings at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games with 22 medals (seven gold medals, seven silver medals, and eight bronze medals).
On Friday evening in Beijing (Friday morning in North America), the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games took place. On Day One, the biggest event will be a Para-Ice Hockey game between Canada and the United States. This will be a rematch of the gold medal game from the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, which the United States won by a score of 2-1 in overtime.
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