Most of us may think that the Olympics 2008 are over and done with. China brought home a tremendous number of golds (51, by far outbeating the next runner up, US who had 36). Barring a scandal over CG fireworks, a lipsync and the lack of food at the arenas, everything went smoothly. Even the protesters didn’t get much coverage.
Well… the Olympic spirit lives on. From September 6th until the 17th, Beijing is hosting the paralympics.
According to the official Chinese Paralympic Games, “In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann organized a sports competition involving World War II veterans with a spinal cord injury in Stoke Mandeville, England… Today, the Paralympics are elite sport events for athletes from six different disability groups. They emphasize, however, the participants’ athletic achievements rather than their disability. The movement has grown dramatically since its first days. The number of athletes participating in Summer Paralympic Games has increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 3806 athletes from 136 countries in Athens in 2004.”
The ability of these athletes is awe-inspiring. I don’t think most able bodied people could compete on that level. Quoting Dave Letterman, “They’re just tremendous. Tremendous.”
I really wish they were broadcasting these games on network television.
Below are some of my favorite pictures from both the official Chinese website and The Boston Globe.
Opening ceremony performed in true Chinese fashion.
The female receiving and walking the torch is the first Chinese disabled athlete to win an Olympic medal. (On day 10, China is leading the board with 187 medals including 80 gold (!!!). Great Britain: 96/41 and U.S.: 96/33.)
The U.S. team is their chic Ralph Lauren outfits. For some reason, I didn’t realize that Ralph Lauren sponsored the clothing for all the athletes, until I walked into their store and found the official t-shirts. My parents now have white and blue polos with huge a “Beijing” in Chinese written down one side.
Athletes in action: