Paralympics to close with tribute to Hawking

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Paralympics to close with tribute to Hawking

The International Paralympic Committee will pay tribute to the late British cosmologist Stephen Hawking during the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, officials said Thursday.

Andrew Parsons, president of the committee, plans to deliver a tribute to Hawking, a theoretical physicist who died Wednesday at age 76, during the closing ceremony on Sunday.

“Sometimes in society there is a wrong perception that if you have a disability, it is a negative word and you can’t do something, but Stephen Hawking turned that upside down and showed that, despite the fact he had motor neuron disease, he could still excel in his field of work,” said Craig Spence, communications director at the International Paralympic Committee. “He is an inspiration for all of us in the Paralympic movement.”

The PyeongChang Paralympics, the first Winter Paralympic Games in Korea, started on March 9. The International Paralympic Committee said the Games have been successful.

“In terms of how we measure the success of a Paralympic Games, every target has been met - tickets, broadcasters, media attendance - and one thing that is always fundamental is the feedback from athletes,” Spence said. “The ones we have spoken to are really enjoying their experience.”

The organizers said a record 331,000 tickets have been sold so far, which is 16,000 more than Sochi 2014 and 10,000 more than Vancouver 2010.Still, organizers are worried that some events have had no-shows.

“We sold 331,000 tickets, 150 percent of our goal,” said Sung Baik-you, a spokesman for the PyeongChang Organizing Committee. “What is disappointing is we have some no-shows. The proportion of no-shows is quite high as I remember, but I don’t have a figure.”

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