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As the 2012 Games of the 30th Olympiad came to a spectacular and stunning close on Sunday, August 12, much of the world found themselves anticipating further athletic trials and races, seeking additional sporting achievements, and expecting the next human act of physical prowess and wonder. The Olympians and their competitions inspired national camaraderie and international comradeship. In a sense, for the world, Monday August 13 felt like a damp, foggy, grey London morning.
As with all acts of stellar achievement in any field whether science, medicine, sports, or politics, we asked, “What next?”
If able-bodied athletes wowed and inspired you from July 29 through September 12, then get ready for an exhilarating string of tournaments where athletes with a variety of physical impairments engage in a wide range of sporting events that will not only amaze, but inspire viewers around the world. Guess what: the Olympics ain’t over ‘til the wheelchair rugby player makes the goal and the sitting volleyball payer spikes the ball. The Paralympics are just around the corner so get the national flags back out and be prepared to frantically wave the athletes from ____ nations on.
Following the massive cleanup after the Olympics at the beginning of the month, Paralympic Committee rapidly prepares the Olympic Village for the next exciting, energetic set of competitions. The Paralympics begin with the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, August 29. Co-artistic directors, Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmins have worked hard with a variety of volunteers, rehabilitating soldiers, charity organizations, and professionals to put together a show that they endeavor to be “both spectacular and deeply human at the same time”. Titled, ‘Enlightenment’, Stephen Daldry (director of the multiple-award winning film ‘Billy Elliot’) heads up the behind-the-scenes team. Listen to the interviews with each at Your News UK TV (scroll down under the video to access the other video interviews).
With over 4,000 athletes from 162 nations participating, this year’s program is shaping up to be the biggest ever in history. Speaking of history, when and why did the Paralympics start? What exactly does the Paralympics encompass? Who qualifies? What events can we watch? Read the overview and history from Disabled World. Follow up with the BBC’s history of the Paralympics.
This week, as athletes go in to final training sessions and mentally and physically prepare for the competitions just around the corner, the Torch Relay gets set to travel around England. On this Wednesday, August 22, the National Flames will be lit at the highest peak in Great Britain. Get ready to follow the relay by reading the news coverage of the relay details. Watch this video clip about the Torch Relay to learn more about how the four nations that comprise Great Britain play a part. Then as the proceedings begin, use the interactive map to follow the torch.
The Paralympics Official Web site will offer immediate updates and results as well as video and photos and commentary before and throughout the games. President Barack Obama offered his thoughts concerning the games on a recent Weekly Address to the nation.
If you were impressed with the wide variety of sports involved with the Olympics a couple of weeks ago, check out the remarkable mix of Paralympic sports! For another interactive view of the range of exciting sports check the Paralympic Movement’s page of Summer Sports. The United Nations has even joined in the excitement issuing their own stamps commemorating the games.
In fact, if perhaps in times past the physically impaired elicited sympathy then fret no more. The Paralympic athletes have transcended beyond the international perception of pity bringing a sense of inspiration and amazement instead. The Independent’s article spotlights the feats that outpace and outdo the regular Olympians records. Read on as the Columbia County News-Times argues why Paralympians are real athletes too. Read about and watch the video clip of 53 year old wheelchair-bound quadriplegic Paralympic Sailor Paul Callahan who is set to compete in the sailing event. Feel sorry for him? Not at all. To find out more about the U.S. Team, follow their Web site full of stories, photos, and video clips.
As of this writing, more than 2.2 million of a potential 2.5 million tickets have already been sold; more than expected and the 2012 Paralympics are shaping up to be the most viewed and largest in history. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) continues to release additional tickets in order to keep up with demand. Channel 4 in England will broadcast the games in Europe and online for everyone around the world to view. Additionally, the United States Olympic Committee will broadcast the games via their U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel. Of course the Official Web site of the Paralympic Movement will be broadcasting video clips and stories as the games progress as well. The Summer 2012 London Paralympic Games my indeed be the greatest ever. Get ready; get pumped and cheer the para-athletes on to personal and national victories.