Oksana Masters wins Samsung Paralympic Blogger Award

By International Paralympic Committee | March 24, 2014, 4:30 p.m. (ET)

The International Paralympic Committee and its Worldwide Paralympic Partner Samsung have announced Norway’s Morten Vaernes and Canada’s Graeme Murray – both sled hockey players – as well as America Oksana Masters – a Nordic skier – as the winners of the Sochi 2014 Samsung Paralympic Blogger Awards.

During the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, March 7-16, 30 leading athletes across all five winter sports recorded more than 100 exclusive behind-the-scenes video blogs as a part of Samsung’s Paralympic campaign “Sport Doesn’t Care.” The campaign highlights that everyone has problems in their lives to overcome, and that sport can help them do so.

The video blogs have received more than 50,000 views to date, and on the field of play the athlete bloggers won a combined 29 medals, including 10 golds.

Masters’ blog showcasing biathlon training at the Nordic skiing housing in Sochi won the "Most Viewed" category, having already recorded more than 3,000 views and counting.

“I think that this partnership with Samsung was an amazing experience,” Masters said. “It’s very important for viewers who see us on course to also connect more to the athletes behind the scenes.”

Vaernes’ blog predicting the outcomes sled hockey games using movie quotes was deemed the Most Creative.

“We wanted to make a game with it,” Vaernes said. “We wanted to pick out the best movie quotes to fit in with the questions, and it was very fun for us to make. It was a great opportunity to expose ourselves and showcase our sport of sled hockey.”

Murray’s blog thanking all of his family and friends after Canada lost their semi-final match against Team USA was honored for best reflecting Samsung’s “Sport Doesn’t Care” motto. His blog, recorded with words written on paper for his deaf girlfriend, showed how much support Murray got back home and what it felt like to lose but also keep composure.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with the Samsung Paralympic Bloggers project,” Murray said. “I’ve learned a lot about the Games and I think this was a good way for our family and friends to get involved in a way they haven’t been able to before. It kind of brings everyone that’s not inside the Paralympic Village together and gives them an insight to what’s going on inside.”

The athletes involved in the Samsung Paralympic Bloggers project shared their challenges and victories with the world using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, showcasing footage of what viewers did not see from Sochi on their television screens back home. It allowed Paralympic fans to get closer to the athletes than ever before.

The judging panel for the Awards included IPC President Sir Philip Craven, Sochi 2014’s Vice President of Communications Alexander Kosterina and Samsung’s Head of Global Partnerships Hoon Kang.

Sir Philip said: “The Samsung Paralympic Bloggers project contributed to helping Sochi 2014 gain more media exposure than any Paralympic Winter Games before. Paralympic fans not in Sochi were still able to feel like they were right alongside the athletes through their video blogs and were able to have a glimpse of their lives off the field of play.”

To view all of the Samsung Paralympic Blogger videos, please visit the IPC’s YouTube channel.