Contrary to popular belief, the Olympic Games do not last two weeks. They last for four.
March 12th, 2010 marked the start of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics, a search for excellence made tougher and more meaningful by the physical obstacles these elite athletes have to overcome. If you thought Kerry Shrug’s one-foot vault landing in 1996 was amazing, check out what paralympian Stephani Victor has been up to at the 2010 Games. (Hint: It involves a gold medal on one of the most difficult alpine skiing courses in the world.)
The roots of the Paralympics can be traced to London 1948 when Dr. Ludwig Guttmann when Dutch and British WWII veterans with spinal cord injuries competed against each other in organized sporting events. The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960, and have grown into the world’s second largest sporting event following the Olympics, and they are still growing.
Paying respect to its roots, U.S. Paralympics also oversees the USOC Paralympic Military Program, a rehabilitation program for wounded troops. The Committee is currently hosting 12 student-athletes with disabilities at the 2010 Games, giving them an opportunity to see and meet top paralympians reach the pinnacle of athletic success. Thousands of lives, young and old, male and female, military and civilian have been transformed by the work of U.S. Paralympics. With a motto like “Spirit in Motion” and an impressive showing at the Vancouver 2010 Games (Congrats on the gold, U.S. Men’s Sled Hockey!) we can safely assume that the Paralympic Movement shows no signs of stopping.