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Athletes With True Grit: The Paralympics Underway in Beijing

While the Olympics with the convention chaser gobbled up the news cycle, the Paralympic Games is running now in Beijing through Sept. 17 and is well worth a slice of the cycle. The stories and pictures out of the games rival a Phelps headline any day.

This year's games showcase 4,000 athletes, each tougher than the sum of their parts, from 148 countries, competing in 20 sports. One of those sports blows my mind — blind soccer. There's a picture of the event below, it's really incredible.

Some of the athletes postgames fortune could give Phelps a run for his medals. Almost Olympian and Paralympian champion Oscar Pistorius, nicknamed "Blade Runner" is sweeping medals and set to become the new Carl Lewis.


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I was most struck by the story behind the creation of the games — and how they resonate today. To see how, and more pictures,

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Sir Ludwig Guttmann set out to create a sports competition for World War II veterans with a spinal cord injuries in 1948. After launching in England, in the next games competitors from the Netherlands joined and the international competition took off. Today's games feature athletes from six different disability groups with a firm emphasis on athletic achievement instead of disability.

True to the roots of the games, disabled veterans are competing this year — like US swimmer Melissa Stockwell. After she lost her leg to an IED in Iraq four years ago, she began training on her own and qualified for the games. With more than 31,000 US soldiers rendered permanently disabled, there's a push for sports rehabilitation that could make many more Paralympians like Melissa.


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lotka lotka 7 years
I was lucky enough to be in Beijing to catch some of the Paralympic games in person! They were truly inspirational and I wish Olympics athletes would get involved to help bring more attention to the Paralympic Games.
msmoney23 msmoney23 7 years
This is amazing...I really wish these games were given more media attention.
melizzle melizzle 7 years
This always blows my mind... so inspiring.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i didn't know the history behind developing the games but i think that it was certainly a step in the right direction and now i think that with the war going on - it's yet another thing that can keep people motivated. a lot of soldiers pride themselves on being athletes as well and when they come home injured - at least now they can still showcase their abilities. i'm always impressed with the events that are included and how successful the athletes are in each. it makes me realize that any adversity that i find for myself and complain about for myself is really minor in the grand scheme of things..it's really inspirational.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i didn't know the history behind developing the games but i think that it was certainly a step in the right direction and now i think that with the war going on - it's yet another thing that can keep people motivated. a lot of soldiers pride themselves on being athletes as well and when they come home injured - at least now they can still showcase their abilities.i'm always impressed with the events that are included and how successful the athletes are in each. it makes me realize that any adversity that i find for myself and complain about for myself is really minor in the grand scheme of things..it's really inspirational.
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paralympic_football#Football_5-a-side
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 7 years
:jawdrop: Yay for them! :)
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 7 years
:jawdrop: Yay for them! :)
Michelann Michelann 7 years
What channel is this on? Is it not on any channel? I need to be watching.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 7 years
More power to them! :cheer: An inspiration! And those are some seriously designed chairs. Amazing.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 7 years
More power to them! :cheer: An inspiration! And those are some seriously designed chairs. Amazing.
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