If you haven’t been watching the Paralympics already, you should be. This year’s games, which started on Aug. 9, saw the highest attendance since they began in 1960 with over 2.7 million tickets sold.
“The British people just seem to have embraced the Paralympic Games perhaps in a bigger way than any nation has before,” says Michael Milton, a former Australian Winter Paralympian.
The number of female Paralympians in the 2012 games has also increased. According to CNN, in the 1992 Barcelona games, only 700 females participated. This year 1,513 women will compete in 18 sports, ranging in everything from archery to wheelchair tennis.
One of these women is Tatyana McFadden, a U.S. Paralympic wheelchair racer, recently featured in our July blog post. Known for her speed on wheels, the London games mark her third year as a Paralympic athlete and her first time to win a gold medal in the 400m T54 race, an event designed for athletes racing from a seated position.
And McFadden isn’t the only woman in a wheelchair drawing attention. Esther Vergeer, a well-established tennis player from the Netherlands is another athlete worth keeping an eye on. She developed paraplegia after a spinal cord injury when she was just eight years old and learned to play wheelchair tennis during rehabilitation. She won her fourth consecutive gold medal this year, totaling an unbeaten streak of 470 matches.
Its athletes like these who will keep the passion surrounding the 2012 Paralympics alive well after it comes to a close in just two days, on Sept. 9. We can only guess what the next Paralympics will hold, but if it is anything like this one, it is something you definitely don’t want to miss.
To keep up with the games, visit the Paralympics official London 2012 website.
To learn more about Paralympian Esther Vergeer and wheelchair tennis, click on the video below:
Which Paralympian inspires you? Please post your comments below.