With the 2012 London Olympics behind us, it’s time now for the other biggest multinational sporting event to get under way this week: The 2012 London Paralympic Games. Here’s all the stuff you wanted to know about the games that you didn’t know before, you know, because these things are barely televised. The Games begin Wednesday, Aug. 29.
1.It’s Not the Only Games in London This Week
Atos, a French IT firm, is at the center of some controversy surrounding the Paralympics this week, as the company, whose Work Capability Assessment helps determine whether disabled citizens will receive sickness benefits, is a controversial organization that many paraplegics insist is unfair and seriously flawed. The Atos Games, therefore, is a week-long protest against Atos, also a major Paralympic sponsor, by disabled citizens during this week’s games in London.
2. It Will Be the Second-Largest Multi-Sport Event Ever Held in the U.K.
Second only to the 2012 Olympics, of course. For being the second largest multi-sporting event in the world, you’d figure you’d hear something about it during the week it’s occurring, right?
3. It Will Be the Biggest Paralympic Games Ever
An estimated 4,200 athletes are scheduled to compete.
4. Intellectually Disabled Athletes Return this Year
Intellectually disabled athletes will compete for the first time since 2000, when it was determined that only two out of the 12 gold-medal-winning Spanish basketball athletes actually met the criteria for disability. There’s a movie waiting in this story. And, as of right now, ED does not qualify you for the games. Otherwise, you’d be a multi-time gold-medal finisher.
5. Paralympic Judo is Specifically for the Blind
Which means that that this awesome Jet Li fight scene is an actual Olympic sport. Why are they missing out on the fantastic marketing opportunity of calling their sport Blind Judo? I’m already buying a ticket.
6. Corporate Sponsors of the Olympics are Automatically Sponsors of the Paralympics.
Which means that Nike, McDonald’s and such will continue their sponsorship duties in London for the duration of the games.
7. The Paralympics Are Coming Home
The Paralympics actually first started in the U.K. in 1948, during the ’48 London Olympic Games, but they had no affiliation with them. It wasn’t until Rome in 1960 that the first official Paralympic games were contested, and not until Seoul ’88 were they paired in the same city as the Olympics.
8. Paralympians Will Make More Endorsement Cash this Year than Ever Before
It was estimated that fewer than a dozen athletes received major sponsor deals at the previous games, but experts this go-round are predicting that parathletes will be on the receiving end of the most endorsement money thus far in the event’s history.
9. In Addition to Banned Substances, Officials Must Watch Out for “Boosting”
Boosting occurs when wheelchair athletes, especially athletes with spinal cord injuries, cause painful stimuli to their bodies in order to get a rise in blood pressure, and sometimes, a 10 percent improvement in race performance.
10. The Most Talked About Paralympic Athlete Already Competed at the London Games
That’s because Oscar Pistorius qualified for the actual Olympic games with the help of a prosthetic called the Flex-Foot Cheetah. He’s like the Olympic version of the Six Million Dollar Man.