If you have seen South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, run at the Olympics, you know that people with disabilities are among the world’s best athletes. Those athletes will take center stage in London when the Paralympics begin on August 29. We’re not sure Queen Elizabeth II will parachute from the skies, but she will attend the opening ceremony. The events will take place in the same venues as the Olympics, and the Olympic Village that houses the Olympic athletes becomes the Paralympic Village.
The competitors are elite athletes who have gone through a rigorous process to qualify for the Paralympic Games. Many of the sports featured in the Paralympics are the same as those in the Olympics, but they have been adapted to allow athletes with disabilities to compete. Learn more about the events here . It is worth noting that Paralympic medals count toward each country’s total in the world medal tracker.
There are several regional athletes who have qualified for the 2012 Paralympic Games:
Expectations for several of the American teams are high. The U.S. wheelchair rugby team is always a powerhouse. The TA mixed double sculls in rowing has two rowers who are new to international competition, but are looking strong. The U.S. wheelchair basketball team is also a contender for a medal, as are many individuals competing in the athletics and swimming events. You can get more information on specific athletes here .
Unfortunately, the Paralympic Games will not be televised. However, you can watch live streaming coverage online. Learn how here . Hopefully, in the future, we’ll get to watch these amazing athletes who happen to have a disability compete on television. For now, let’s cheer them on via the web. GO TEAM USA!