Prepare for Paralympic Passion

After the most successful Olympics ever, London limbers up for 11 more days of sporting excellence

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richard whitehead
Richard Whitehead holds the world record for both the marathon and 200m in the T42 double amputee category.
sally brown
Team GB's 16-year old sprinter Sally Brown will make her Paralympic debut in London.

With just one day to go before the Paralympics kick off in London, we take a look back at the origins of the Games, and a look ahead at what lies in store for Britain’s most talented Paralympians.

In the beginning

The origins of the Paralympic movement can be traced back to the last London Olympic Games in 1948 when a group of British World War II veterans with spinal chord injuries gathered together for the first ‘International Wheelchair Games’.

The event was the brainchild of Dr Ludwig Guttman, who had fled from Nazi Germany in 1939 and subsequently worked with war veterans at Stoke Mandeville hospital. Dr Guttman came up with the idea for the Games as a way for athletes with disabilities to compete at their own version of the Olympic Games.

The first official Paralympic Games was held in Rome in 1960. Back then, there were just 400 athletes from 23 countries. At the London Games in 2012 there will be 4,200 athletes representing 165 countries. The term ‘para’ comes from the Greek for ‘alongside’, as the Paralympics have been run in parallel to the Olympic Games since 1960.

Team GB

There are 21 Paralympic sports at the 2012 Games, and athletics will feature some of Britain’s best hopes for a gold medal. We caught up with two Team GB athletes determined to deliver the win in front of the home crowd this summer.

Sprinter Sally Brown is preparing to make her Paralympic debut at the age of 16. The runner from Belfast discovered her athletic ability at primary school and now competes over 100m and 200m in the T46 category. Find out here how Sally’s preparing to make her mark on the London Paralympics.

Richard Whitehead is another great British hope for a sprint medal at the London Games. Earlier this year he also set a new world record over 200m in the T42 category, after switching to sprinting when he was told he would not be able to compete in the marathon in the T42 category at the Games.

The British runner holds the half-marathon and marathon world records for leg amputees and is the only double amputee ever to run a sub-three hour marathon.

We caught up with Richard to find out how he’s made the switch from marathon to sprint, and what it means to him to be competing in front of a home crowd in London.

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Discuss this story

The Paralympics part of the game always amazed me. Even a small wound or fracture happens to us, we will be totally down and have to depend others for everything. In Paralympics we can see people who show 100 times strength than the normal people. Hats off to them!

www.injurylegalla.com 


Posted: 19/02/2013 at 07:14

Yep anything an abled bodied person can do, a paralympian can do as well - ask Oscar Pistorius.


Posted: 19/02/2013 at 12:06

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