The Rio Paralympians have inspired the world with their display of indomitable spirit and triumphs over adversities.
The Rio Paralympics celebrate the most incredible feats of strength and resilience.
THE Rio Paralympic Games are in the home stretch.
About 4,350 athletes are competing for the 528 gold medals up for grabs across 23 sports over 11 days of competition. New world records have been set at neck breaking pace.
Each athlete has a unique difference that have to be classified. Lines have to be drawn to group similar impairments, or impairments that yield similar results. There are 10 impairment groups based on physical, visual and intellectual criteria. The Paralympic sports adjust the groups to suit their individual events, swelling the classifications to hundreds.
The Rio Paralympic Games needed a bailout from Brazil’s government of almost US$ 80mil ( RM330 mil) to make it to the starting line. Only 200,000 tickets had been sold a few weeks before the opening ceremony Aug 7, but officials said demand picked up and they had sold nearly their goal of 2.4 million. That is partly because ticket prices have been lowered.
But many people are also coming to the Paralympics to witness the amazing feats of strength and resilience on display.
These incredible athletes are challenging and shattering preconceptions towards so- called disabilities.
Fans have been cheering and supporting the athletes, as passionately as they did in the Olympics. Brazilian athletes have of course been the most loved.
“At the time, I entered the stadium and I saw it was packed, and the supporters shouting, suddenly my legs became so happy and they ran alone and I went behind them,” said Brazilian athlete Petrucio Ferreira Dos Santos, who followed his dancing legs to a world record of 10.67 seconds in the T47 100metre sprint.
Television is starting to drive the coverage and revenue.
British broadcaster Channel 4 is telecasting non- stop daily live coverage. Dan Brooke, the head of marketing, declined to say how much the network paid for the rights, but called it “a successful commercial operation. We make money out of it.”
Brooke expected ratings to fall in Rio compared to the 2012 London Games, but he got a surprise.
“We’ve been amazed to find the audiences for young people are up very slightly vs. London,” he said.
Big money is changing the landscape with countries like China, Britain and Ukraine pouring more resources into training.
Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias has 11 sponsorships, and that could increase as he adds to the 10 gold medals he won in the last two Paralympics. Bladerunner Marlou van Rhijn has become a marketing giant in the Netherlands, the way Oscar Pistorius was in South Africa.
Companies are beginning to recognise the appeal of the Paralympian story of the indomitable human spirit.
The Paralympics are more than a benign version of the Olympics. In fact, a few performances have been better than the Olympics.
The top four runners in the men’s 1,500meter – in the T13 class for visually impaired – all had better times than the Olympic champion in last month’s Rio Olympics.
Former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi won a Paralympic gold medal in the H5 road time trial on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the motorsport crash that robbed him of his legs. ' I feel very lucky, I feel my life is a never- ending privilege,' said the 49- year- old Italian hand- cyclist.
US wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden is one of the greatest athletes of the Paralympics. She made her Paralympics debut at 15 at the Athen Games, and was aiming to win seven gold medals at the Rio Paralympics, in every event from the 100 meters to the marathon.
French world champion Marie- Amelie le Fur broke the long jump T44 world record twice on her way to winning the gold medal in Rio. Her left leg was amputated below the knee following a motor scooter accident 12 years ago. Before she lost her leg, she was a French junior running champion.