Last week I came across this video on RossTraining.com highlighting the upcoming Paralympics. There is something profoundly moving about these athletes. Their character, drive, determination, and out right dedication is something I can only aspire to achieve. Today when I was entertaining the idea of cutting my workout short, I reminded myself of this video. Zip it. No more lazy thoughts and no excuses I told myself. I reminded myself of the end goal and kept at it. You can watch the video here. It’s only 1:30 and these athletes deserve your attention.
It got me thinking a little more about the Paralympics. I had a countdown for the Olympics but I am not so aware of the games starting on August 29th. Who will be representing the USA? What are the sports? When did it begin?
The Paralympics officially started in 1960 in Rome. Before that, it was a more casual gathering of British World War II Veterans starting back as early as 1948. This year the United States will be represented by 227 athletes in 19 different sports. The sports are archery, boccia, cycling, equestrian, goalball, judo, powerlifting, rowing, sailing, shooting, sitting volleyball, soccer seven-a-side, swimming, table tennis, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair fencing and wheelchair tennis. You can read more about the sports here. Track and field has 58 athletes with 4 guides for the visually impaired. Here are some other cool facts:
- Swimmer Colleen Young (St. Louis, Mo.), who turned 14 in June, is the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team. The oldest member of the team is 57-year-old fencer Gary Van Der Wege (Kyle, Texas) but archer Jerry Shields (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sailor Jean-Paul Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla.) are also 57.
- Forty-two states and Washington D.C. have representatives on the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team. California has the most representation with 23 athletes followed by Colorado with 13.
- The team also includes 20 U.S. military veterans and active duty service members, some of whom were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan
- The London 2012 Paralympic Games will be the largest edition of the Games yet, with an estimated 4,200 participating athletes, up from the 3,951 who competed in Beijing.
The opening ceremony for the games is August 29th and it all comes to an end on September 9th. If you are interested in any sport in particular, the schedule can be found here. It seems there will be no live coverage of the events but there is a Paralympics Sport Channel on YouTube. I have to admit I’m feeling pretty excited about the Paralympics just like I was about the Olympics. I can’t wait to see what these incredible athletes can do…
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
(By the way – the meditation is going awesome!)