Paralympic Heroes and the Woman Who Won 55 Medals
Heroes are More Than an Arm or a Leg
The Summer Paralympic Games of London 2012 experienced tremendously increased numbers of athletes. That year, 4,200 individual athletes registered to participate in the Paralympics 2012 sports, with the numbers of enrollment for women significantly higher than ever before. At least 175 nations entered the Rio 2016 Paralympics with over 4,000 athletes, not counting the banned Russian team.
More Medals Than Michael Phelps
As spectator and media interest grows with advancing athlete participation in these games, the world hopes that TV stations will want to broadcast the their outside their host nations more often. This happened with the "regular" Olympic Games, setting television and Internet viewing records in 2012. Some highlight recaps scheduled are listed further below.
US Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, wounded, injured, and now amputees use the Paralympics training as rehabilitation and their accomplishments are showcased in these sporting events.
If you are aware of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, then you likely know about Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee that ran with able-bodied men in the 4 x 400m relay. He went straight on to the Summer Paralympics to continue running during the events of August 29 to September 9, 2012. He did not compete at Rio 2016.
Before Pistorius of South Africa, however, Ronan Tynan was a double amputee of the same type of disability who also competed in the Paralympics (1980 - 1988). Tynan won 25 medals total: 22 Gold Medals, 2 Silver Medals and 1 Bronze Medal in Track and Field Athletics. He also set 14 World Records. As of 2016, this tops the overall wins of swimmer Michael Phelps so far.
Today, Dr. Tynan not only is a physician of orthopedic sports Injuries, but also a member of the famous Irish Tenors group. Thus, the courage and determination of the people involved in Paralympic Games produces other accomplishments in addition to sports records.
Credit: seasmus's channel - YouTube, standard license.
The Long Awaited Event
The event that people were itching to see in 2012 was the T44 (arm or leg impairment) Men's 100m Final with Oscar Pistorius. It was held September 6 in London Olympic Stadium. A good turnout of spectators showed up to see:
Oscar Pistorius (RSA), Jerome Singleton (USA), and Jonnie Peacock (GBR)
- Pistorius beat Singleton for Gold in Beijing, but Singleton beat Pistorius in a photo-finish in the 2011 World Championships. However, Peacock broke Oscar’s World Record.
- Pistorius did not win the event, the Gold Medal of which went to Jonnie Peacock.
Oscar Pistorius Makes Sports History
Although Oscar Pistorius did not medal in his Paralympics event, he made history as the first person globally to enter both the Olympics and Paralymics during the same summer. He will always be known for this feat.
Highest Mountains in Britain
Double Leg-Amputees Can Run Marathons
The Paralympics Press Packet tells us that GBR'sRichard Whitehead, as of 2012, is the World Record holder for the marathon, half marathon and 200m. He made history in 2009 as the first leg amputee to complete a marathon in under 3 hours! He has broken the World Record for the 200m as well.
Can you imagine running a marathon on Cheetah Legs? At the Chicago Marathon his time was 2:42:52. This is about 30 minutes longer than the ratified men's able-bodied World Record set in Berlin in 2011 by Patrick Macau (Kenya) at 2:03:38.
In 2012, Whitehead's events are the 200m and the marathon.
Wheelchair athletes compete in a marathon as well and the World's Record is 1:18:27, set by Ernst van Dyck in the Boston Marathon of 2004. No wheelchair marathon has been included in the Paralympics yet.
Plenty of racing events exist in Paralympic Wheelchair competition as well as in foot races for men and women, including our military veterans.
US Military Program
Credit: USParalympics1 on YouTube, standard license.
How the Blind Can Lead
Top Winner 1980 - 2004
Trischa Zorn Hudson is blind since birth. She was inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2012.
A Woman Who Has 55 Medals
Television coverage of the 2012 Paralympics was wider than during previous games, but was still limited outside the United Kingdom. Some events were offered online at the CHANNEL 4 website and its videos on YouTube.
At Rio 2016, all of this media coverage multiplied to provide the world with wider and more varied views of the jaw dropping achievements possible for physically challenged athletes.
We are more than a leg or an eye!
A record number of women signed up to compete at the 2012 Paralympics. This added to the larger role of women in sports at the 2012 Olympics, which saw women athletes from every entered country represented for the first time.
It is a blind female swimmer from USA that has won 55 medals at her Paralympics entries from 1980 - 2004. By the end of the 2012 games, her record for accumulated wins was still undefeated.
This winner is Trischa Zorn, with 41 Gold, 9 Silver, and 5 bronze awards in 7 Paralympics Games between 1980 at Arnhem, Netherlands and 2004 at Athens, Greece.
Today she is Trischa Zorn Hudson, an attorney and has had successful implantation of two artificial irises to restore partial sight.
She is Executive Director of the Indiana Pro-Bono Commission and works with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to help returning soldiers adjust to civilian life.
Today's Hope for the Blind
The NRTC is the only U.S. Department of Education-funded national center focused on employment outcomes of persons with blindness or low vision.
Other Blind Heroes
Ian Sharpe's Paralympian: Blind Swimming and Cycling
Even Blind BMX Comepetitions
CREDITS: London 2012 at YouTube, standard license -- Welcome to the official channel of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. Come behind the scenes in the build up to the Games, hear from the athletes as they prepare, see exclusive venue footage and more!
More Stories From the Paralympics
- The First Paralympics Hall Of Fame Athletes
Paralympians achieve results in Olympic events that are unthinkable to many who have never heard of such competitions. Our world's Wounded Warriors are some of the athletes who benefit the most.
- The Olympics and Motivation: How To Find Your Own Greatness
What do Elvis, the Olympics, the Paralympics and a young boy in Ohio all have in common? The answers help one find inner strength.
© 2012 Patty Inglish MS