Supermodel Vodianova fronts Paralympic Games (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
The final stage of the Paralympic torch relay saw some of the world’s brightest stars usher the flame through the streets of London.
Among them was top international model and mother to three, Natalia Vodianova, who also happens to be the ambassador for the next Winter Paralympics in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi in 2014.
“I want to usethe resources that I have in Russia and abroad to help the Paralympic movement,” Vodianova commented. “Olympians are already getting plenty of support, so I'm focused on contributing to the Paralympic cause instead.”
And from the streets, the torch went on to the stadium where thousands of spectators from around the world had gathered for the opening ceremony.
13-time Paralympic champion Rima Batalova who participated in six Games herself, admitted that it's a completely different experience to arrive at the competition as a fan.
“I've never attended the opening ceremony of the games in my six Paralympic outings as an athlete because I usually had to prepare for competition during that time,” she said. “So this first-time experience is like a holiday for me.”
So the 2012 Paralympics have officially begun, and over the next couple of weeks, athletes from 166 countries will battle for the gold medal in 21 different sports.
And these games are promising to be the most watched Paralympics to date. London 2012 organizers have pulled out all the stops in order to achieve record breaking ticket sales.
That’s certainly something to live up to when the next winter Paralympic capital of Sochi picks up the baton.
But with ambassadors like model Natalia Vodianova, the task might be just a little easier.
2012 Olympics Ambassador top model Natalia Vodianova, second from left, runs through one of the streets in London at the 2012 Paralympic torch relay (RIA Novosti / Anton Denisov)
2012 Olympics Ambassador Natalia Vodianova runs on a street in London at the 2012 Paralympic torch relay (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)
2012 Olympics Ambassador Natalia Vodianova (L) runs through one of the streets in London at the 2012 Paralympic torch relay (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)