Sports Technology and Big Data have evolved right alongside the Olympic Games since the Roman Empire banned it some 1600 years ago. The Sports Techie community blog breaks down the “Pathway to Paralympics” Infographic in order to appreciate its place in sport and sports tech history.
The Games were reborn in 1896 in Olympia, Greece. Remember the name George Eyser because in 1904 he was the very first athlete to compete in able-bodied Olympics with an artificial leg that helped him earn six medals with three of them gold. After World War II, the UK hosted the very first Paralympic Games in 1948 during the summer games for soldiers with spinal injuries; it was called “The Wheelchair Games.”
In 1963, sports business took precedence when three different names were given to the Tokyo Games. The 1968 Montreal Games expanded disabilities to include blind athletes and more. The 1976 Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden was the first of its kind and had 12 pioneering countries entered. During my senior year at Redmond High school in 1984, the IOC approved the use of the term “Paralympics” for all future events.
The fact that the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Committee paid $1 million to get the event on TV when NBC paid $450 million for the rights to broadcast the regular games makes one appreciate the true value of both events then and now.
Women competitors have more than doubled between the 700 at the 1992 Barcelona Games and over 1,500 at London 2012. The Michael Jordan or is it LeBron James of Paralympics is Trischa Zorn, who won 55 medals with 41 of those gold as a blind swimmer over 24 years. Then there is 12 year old, Jessica Long, a double amputee from Team USA who won three gold medals in the swimming pool. Both her legs were amputated when she was 18-months old. With only two years of training, her incredible performance is one for the ages.
Please review the Sports Techie blog – Digital Awards Earned by deltatre for London 2012 Olympic Games Paralympic Coverage by C4.
When you consider that 80,000 fans watched the opening ceremonies in 2012 compared to 5,000 in 1960 it truly blows your mind how popular this event is and why it has become the second largest multi-event in the world. As a fan, I would like to see Wheelchair Rugby cross over to the other 20 regular Olympic sports and elect Will Ferrell as the United States Captain. Most impressive are the six disability groups in the Paralympic Games and the determined athletes who push the limits of human endurance for the opportunity to compete at the highest level, the Paralympic Games.
In 2008, Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner, wins what is considered to be the best Paralympic sprint race in history. Then at the 2012 London Games he crossed over to the regular games attempting to win a sprinting gold medal using prosthetic legs.
Finally, there are the upcoming 2016 Summer Paralympic Games and the projected 4,350 athletes competing for 525 medals across 22 sports to look forward to as an International Sports Techie fan. Brazil will have the most sustainable games of all-time with new stadiums that are both eco-friendly and Paralympic ready.
The “Pathway to Paralympics” is clearly a global path that truly represents the love of sport no matter what the disability.
Thank you To Rianna Stanley and Masters-in-special-education.com for the Infographic.
Sports Techie, Pick any Paralympic story and you will find a regular athlete. This fact is why the Paralympic games have grown to the size they are today. By the time the Tokyo 2020 Games are here, all participation records should be shattered and most performance records will likely fall as the convergence of sports and technology continues to advance alongside improved athletes of all genders, races and shapes enabling performances for the ages.
I met the Blade Runner at the 2012 Global Sports Forum Barcelona as an official blogger and I can pass along that Oscar seemed to be a genuine Sports Techie at the breakfast table and during his sportsbiz talks. His current legal problems are grave but have not tainted the Paralympic spirit he displayed with fellow athletes during the 2008 and 2012 games.
My hope is the humanization of sport continues in conjunction with technological advancements and helps the Paralympic Games accommodate the ever increasing number of worldwide adaptive sports athletes and women wanting to train and compete to be a part of the Olympic spirit. Coaches, sponsors and fans are flocking to join in and support these amazing athletes as they go for it. Bring on the 2104 Sochi Winter Paralympics; it will be sports tech and Paralympic historical glory.
“Pathway to the Paralympics” Infographic
Image compliments of Masters in Special Education Degrees.
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