To me, the Paralympics are even more inspiring than the “real” Olympics. I realize that you have to be talented to run, jump and balance like these athletes, but it takes even more will-power and skill and dedication to do this with a physical handicap. Who amongst us didn’t choke up a bit while watching Oscar Pistorius from South Africa run on his specially-designed blades, and then have the race’s winner ask to trade name tags?
Even before the Paralympics started, the numbers were already record-breaking. Consider that in Beijing, 150,000 attended the Paralympic Games, while in London, more than 70,000 attended just the opening ceremonies, and more than 2.5 million tickets have been sold. Many of the events are sold out, including the wheelchair rugby I mentioned recently.
The Opening Ceremonies took on a scientific tone with Prof. Stephen Hawking narrating them. There were also nods to the Newtonian laws of gravity with a giant apple, and the Higgs-Boson particle being interpreted in song and dance.
A flame was lit from flint and stone on each of the highest peaks in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales by abled and disabled Scouts, military personnel and others, and then the flames were brought together to light the Torch. Here’s Lord Coe and a group on Mt. Snowdon, Wales’ highest peak (and one the most dangerous in the UK) on a beautiful Welsh summer afternoon (hahaha).And the final flame was brought in by a Royal Marine who flew in on a zipline!
Most unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy to see the Paralympics in the US, as they’re not being shown on network television (shame on them!), but if you use my magical Tunnelbear.com, you can switch your IP address to a UK one and watch the Paralympics via the BBC.