“Meet the Superheroes” was the title of the heart-pounding, inspirational video promoting the athletes of the 2012 Paralympic Games. It’s hard to sit through the video while Public Enemy belts out its 2007 hit “Harder Than You Think” and not be awed by what your eyes see.
Intense training. The thrill of competition. Athletes breaking world-records. All of them unique in their own way. Wheelchair basketball players. Blind swimmers. One-legged racers. Their abilities astound you. Their heart and determination inspire you.
Despite it not being as hyped as this summer’s 2012 London Olympics, the 2012 Paralympic Games kicked off with a bang last week with four world records crashing down on the opening day.
Standing records in the men’s club throw, women’s discuss throw, women’s 100m T34, and women’s long jump all fell within the first 24 hours. More records continue to fall into the first week of competition. Our Team USA athletes were among the winners.
Jeremy Campbell set a Paralympic record in the men’s discuss and captured his second consecutive Paralympic Games gold medal. Jeremy was born without a right fibula but has not let that stop his athletic pursuits. He has dominated the world in discuss the last five years, and before that excelled in the pentathlon (which has since been discontinued). Jeremy’s success? His focus and dedication. “He’s a student of the event and goes out each day in practice and goes to work,” says his coach Larry Judge.
Jessica Long is the most decorated American athlete of the Paralympics and kept her stellar record intact, capturing seven medals in this year’s Games, including twice breaking the world record in the 100m freestyle swim in the same day – finishing three seconds faster than second place.
Team USA Cycling team collected two bronze medals in road cycling thanks to Allison Jones and Kelly Crowley.
One of our favorite athletes? David Wagner. David was paralyzed at the age of 21 and became a quadriplegic. Instead of wallowing in pity with his life change, David took a year away from college and practice table tennis as part of his rehab. He went on to try his hand at wheelchair tennis and immediately found his niche. Despite being paralyzed from the mid-chest down, David is able to play by tennis by taping the racket to his hand.
Did we mention he’s currently the number one player in the world in doubles and singles for Paralympic tennis? And his eyes are set squarely on gold this weekend.
The athletes of Team USA and all athletes of the Paralympic Games are incredible stories and testaments to the power of a positive attitude and a determination to compete. Despite perceived physical limitations, these athletes are setting the standard on what can and “can’t” be accomplished. For these superheroes competing in London, there is very little they “can’t” do.