Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Superhuman Games

Contributed by Emma Booth.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.

The 2012 Paralympics begins today in London and is due to be as exciting and successful as the Olympics a few weeks ago. The torch has arrived in the Capital City and the opening ceremony, and all involved, are receiving their final touches and preparations. GB are tipped to have a very successful games, with athletes such as Eleanor Simmonds, Lee Pearson and Graeme Ballard looking to add to their already huge medal collections. There are many military veterans and active service members in all of the Paralympic teams, including British cyclist Jon-Allan Butterworth. The US have 20 military veterans and members in their team comprising of 227 athletes, including blind swimmer Navy Lt Bradley Snyder, who lost his sight in Afghanistan just last year.

The bravery that these athletes have shown to overcome adversity and injury is astonishing, but what is more astonishing is the Games themselves; a great advertisement for sport, the Paralympics are being dubbed the ‘Superhuman Games’ and showcase a wide range of sporting prowess. The Olympics themselves saw great athleticism, but could Usain Bolt, who can run 100m in under 10 seconds, do that with no legs? South African Oscar Pistorius, was the first double amputee to run in the Olympic Games in August, and he is currently the world champion in the Paralympic 100m. He wears carbon fibre prosthetic blades from his knees down and is a true Champion, but will he be able to hold onto his title?

The events themselves feature some differences from the Olympic Games held in August this year. Track and field, soccer, rowing and many others are some of the events you will be familiar with, but what about bocce, goalball and rugby? Not featured in August these sports are actually three of my favorites to watch! Bocce is highly tense, goalball is fast and furious, and wheelchair rugby is one of my highlights of the Games, no actually, the sporting calendar.

The first events take place tomorrow on Thursday 30th August with track cycling, judo, powerlifting, shooting and swimming kicking off proceedings. But if you can’t wait for the Opening Ceremony later tonight, take a look at this short commercial made by British TV station Channel 4 to get you in the mood.

Click here for our day 7 Paralympic Games round up!

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