Five of the Best Moments of the London Paralympics
We know; the Paralympics were last year. But we’re not late to the party – honest! It’s just that, with all the hype and excitement surrounding the incredible Summer Olympics, it’s almost like the Paralympics were completely overlooked!
There were so many great moments to the Olympic Games, like Mo’s awe inspiring win and Murray beating Federer for the gold (not to mention the insane opening ceremony, and especially the daring exploits of Her Majesty), but there were just as many in the Paralympics.
Perhaps due to Channel 4’s less than stellar coverage, it seemed as though the Paralympic Games were lost in the frenzy of excitement and national pride, so – with three years to wait until the next one – we’ve compiled a short list of some the best bits.
This was one of the biggest upsets, of either Games! Everyone expected the South African “Blade Runner”, Oscar Pistorius to win the 200m T44 sprint again at London. But it was not to be – Brazilian youngster Alan Oliveira took the crown, and instead of being a gracious loser, Pistorius moaned.
“We are not running a fair race here,” he complained, claiming that Oliveira’s blades were too long and had given him a “ridiculous” advantage. Perhaps realising that it’s not the winning that matters, he apologised via Twitter the next day.
A Fairy Tale Storey
Sarah Storey destroyed the competition, winning four gold medals – time trials in the velodrome and on the road, the individual pursuit, and the road race, finishing more than seven minutes before the silver medallist.
Perhaps fuelled by the competition, her husband Barney Storey also managed a gold medal in the velodrome, piloting Neil Fachie to the victory in the 1km tandem time trial. A golden couple indeed!
Not Throwing in the Towel
The Chinese swimmer Lu Dong initially attracted attention for her unique starting technique – an assistant held a towel which she gripped between her teeth to hold herself up, before opening her mouth to launch into the pool.
Her lack of arms was not coupled with a lack of spirit, and she zoomed ahead to break the world record for the 100m backstroke. Our own Nyree Kindred narrowly missed out on the top spot, but no one could have denied that the victory belonged to Dong.
In the Summer Olympics, Great Britain managed an astonishing third place in the overall medals table. Not to be outdone, the British Paralympic team also placed third, with an incredible 120 medals, of which 34 were gold!
One of the sports in which we won the most medals was cycling: with the help of greats such as Sarah Storey, we achieved 8 gold medals, 22 overall. For more on bicycles for people with disabilities, see the All Ability Cycling website.
The IPC President Philip Craven declared the London Games “the greatest Paralympic Games ever” and it would be hard to argue against that.
The Golden Formula
Lastly, the 2012 Games saw a return to racing for Alex Zanardi. Zanardi was a Formula One driver, who lost both legs in a car accident in 2001. As a 45 year old, he went back to the track, this time as a hand-cyclist. Astoundingly, he won two gold medals, giving him some new additions to his trophy cabinet.