sochi 2014

Ukraine Paralympics cross-country protest

Ukraine Paralympians cover medals during Russian anthem

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Ukraine’s silver medal-winning cross-country relay team covered their medals with their hands during the Russian national anthem in an awards ceremony at the Paralympics in Sochi on Saturday.

Russian forces have been in the Ukraine region of Crimea since late last month. Here’s NBC News’ coverage of the Crimea situation.

“It is a silent protest, fighting for peace for everyone … because the situation in Ukraine didn’t change,” said Ukraine team official Nataliya Harach, according to The Associated Press. “It is not a political protest … we don’t want any disqualifications.”

Russia won the gold medal in the 4×2.5km cross-country relay, so its anthem was played during the podium ceremony Saturday. Ukraine won silver ahead of France.

Ukraine made news at the Opening Ceremony on March 7, when only one of its athletes marched at Fisht Stadium, its flag bearer. The Paralympics finish Sunday.

U.S. blanks Russia for sledge hockey gold

U.S. blanks Russia for Paralympic sledge hockey gold medal

Sledge Hockey
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The U.S. became the first nation to repeat as Paralympic sledge hockey champion, beating Russia 1-0 in the gold-medal game in Sochi on Saturday.

Josh Sweeney scored the only goal in the second period. Sweeney, 26, is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant and a Purple Heart recipient.

“I saw the defender, and he had the puck and I just went after him and I got the puck from him and took it down and did a little fake because that’s what you want to do when you’re going up against a goalie that good and just put it in the net,” Sweeney said in a press release. “It wasn’t anything that any of my other teammates couldn’t have done, I just did it.”

Goalie Steve Cash posted the six-save shutout, four days after his Paralympic shutout streak of some 313 minutes was snapped by Russia in a 2-1 loss for the Americans in group play.

Cash, 24, was named the U.S. flag bearer for Sunday’s Closing Ceremony on Friday.

Russia performed well for the tournament, winning a silver medal in its first Paralympic sledge hockey appearance.

“I’m not disappointed at all,” Russian goalie Vladimir Kamantcev said. “We played well. It’s a dignified finish for Russia and for ourselves. We showed a good game, a battle, intellect, will and character.”

Also Saturday, Canada beat Russia 8-3 for the wheelchair curling gold.

Russia leads the medal table with 70 total and 27 golds. The next best nations have 21 medals and seven golds. The U.S. has 17 medals and two golds with one day of competition left in Sochi.

Ukraine Paralympians cover medals during Russian anthem

WATCH LIVE: Sochi Paralympics, Day 8

2014 Paralympic Winter Games - Day 7
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The penultimate day of the Paralympics includes two cross-country skiing relays, the 4×2.5km mixed relay and the 4x.2.5 km open relay.

Russia has dominated cross-country skiing over the past week, winning 20 medals and seven golds. No other nation has won more than five medals or two golds.

Also Saturday, two-time 2014 Paralympic silver medalist Mark Bathum goes for another medal in the visually impaired giant slalom and super combined silver medalist Heath Calhoun competes in the sitting giant slalom.

Later, the U.S. sledge hockey team plays Russia in the gold-medal game at noon ET on NBC (preview here) and medals will be decided in curling bronze- and gold-medal games.

Cross-country skiing, 3:30 a.m. ET – CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Paralympic broadcast schedule