By U.S. Paralympics | March 22, 2013, 6 p.m. (ET)

Chefs de mission and representatives from 36 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), including leaders from U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, spent this week in Sochi, Russia to get a look at preparations for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

The Games, now less than a year away, will take place from March 7-16, 2014.

“This was a great gathering, the organizing committee was completely engaged in feedback from the NPCs, we are extremely pleased,” said USOC Chief of Paralympics Charlie Huebner. “Next year, athletes, families, fans, sponsors and donors can expect short commutes to some pretty spectacular venues.”

The competition is set to be the biggest yet with approximately 700 athletes from 45 nations who will compete in 72 medal events across five sports.

“Next year will mark the first Paralympic Games to be held in Russia, and Sochi 2014 has been instrumental in improving accessibility and opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities throughout the country,” said Julie O'Neill, team leader, sport performance. “The Games venues are spectacular, and the planning, support and organization by both the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Sochi 2014 have been exceptional during the chef de mission meetings, as well as the sport test events held in recent weeks.”

Besides the venues, the meetings also covered travel, accommodation, accreditation, sport entries, ticketing, among other topics, to provide the chefs with more information about what they can expect upon arriving in Sochi next year.

Athletes will compete in five sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, sled hockey and wheelchair curling. Para-snowboard will make its debut at the Games as part of the alpine program.

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