On Sept. 18, 2016, the Paralympics lowered the curtains ending the first competition held in Rio de Janeiro. The 2016 Summer Games was the 15th international event for athletes with disabilities, organized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The competition took place in Rio de Janeiro, between Sept. 7-18, 2016. According to the event’s official website, 4,342 athletes from 159 countries engaged in the Paralympic Games. However, only 83 teams split nearly 1600 medals.
Besides being the first Paralympic event held in Rio de Janeiro, the 2016 Summer Games made history by adding two new sports disciplines. Athletes in triathlon and sprint canoeing debuted at the Rio Paralympics. The disciplines already gained popularity due to the intense competitions.
Memorable Paralympic Stories
Overall, the team of China was inspiring. The Chinese won a total of 239 medals: 107 gold, 81 silver, and 51 bronze. The runners-up were the athletes of Great Britain, who secured 147 awards: 64 gold, 39 silver, and 44 bronze. The Ukrainian crew completed the podium, with a total of 117 medals.
In the Paralympic competition, the USA crew took the 4th place, obtaining 115 awards: 40 gold, 44 silver, and 31 bronze. The Americans were two medals away from the podium. However, in the Olympic Games, the USA were the most impressive team, being the leader of the medal count ranking, with 121 medals won by the athletes.
Individually, there were also some athletes that the people will remember for their determination that led them to the Paralympic success.
- Kadeena Cox participated in two sports and won gold medals for each, at Rio Paralympics. According to BBC, the British champion, who admitted being stubborn, competes in athletics and cycling despite her condition. In May 2014, she suffered a stroke that led to multiple sclerosis. However, she wrote history at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
- Daniel Dias did the same thing. The Brazilian swimmer, born with no hands or feet, won nine medals at Rio: four gold, three silver, and two bronze. He is one of the most decorated Brazilian Paralympians, securing 24 awards in the three Summer Games events that he attended.
- Sarah Storey became the most successful British female Paralympian of all-time. According to BBC, she won two gold medals in Rio. So, the athlete, who attended seven Summer Games events, achieved a total of 12 awards across two sports disciplines: swimming and cycling.
The death of Bahman Golbarnezhad marked the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The Iranian cyclist present at the Brazilian Summer Games died on September 17, during a road cycling event. He was the only cyclist from Iran who attended the competition. According to BBC, his death is the first that happened during an event of the Olympic or Paralympic Games since 1960, when a Danish cyclist died at the Rome Olympics.
The officials organized a tribute for Golbarnezhad in the closing ceremony and lowered flags in the Paralympic village. Moreover, the Iranian volleyball team dedicated the gold won on September 18 to their compatriot.
According to ABC, the 2016 Paralympics writes history as People’s Games. The audience will always remember the heroes who obtained medals and wrote memorable stories about ambition and determination.
2020 Tokyo Paralympics
The next Paralympic Games will take place in Tokyo, Japan, from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6, 2020. Tokyo hosted the competition in 1964.
The 2020 Summer Games dedicated to athletes with disabilities will also add two new disciplines to the program: badminton and taekwondo. However, the competition will lose two other sports: sailing and 7-a-side football.
By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Cathy Milne
ABC: Rio 2016: Paralympics come to an end with festive closing ceremony
BBC: Rio Paralympics 2016: Closing ceremony tribute for Bahman Golbamezhad
BBC: Rio Paralympics 2016: Memorable moments
First Post: Rio Paralympics 2016 Highlights: From overcoming all odds to beating Olympic records
Paralympic: Schedule / Results
Rio 2016: Hat-trick heroes: 12 Paralympians out to extend their golden reign at Rio 2016
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Nick Miller’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Agência Brasil Fotografias’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License