Next month, the Paralympic Games will begin in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo Paralympics will take place from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5, 2021. This year’s Paralympic Games will receive unprecedented coverage too. NBC Universal will air a record 1,200 hours of Paralympic coverage from the Tokyo Games, including the first NBC primetime broadcasts in history! This means that more people will have the opportunity to watch some of the best athletes in the world compete.
Admittedly, I knew very little about the Paralympics and had even less interest in them until I started dating a Paralympic athlete. Since I started dating my husband, I have learned so much about the Paralympic Games and the talented athletes that compete in them. In the Summer Paralympic Games, there are 22 sports that athletes can compete in, which are:
- Cycling: Track & Road cycling
- Football 5-a-Side
- Sitting Volleyball
- Table tennis
- Wheelchair Basketball
- Wheelchair Fencing
- Wheelchair Rugby
- Wheelchair Tennis
In order to be selected to be on the U.S. Paralympic Team, athletes must go through a competitive qualification process. Only the very best performing athletes are invited to join the team.
This year is especially exciting because, like the Olympics, the Paralympics were postponed from last year due to the global pandemic. That means that athletes have been waiting a whole year to show the world their exceptional talents.
I am looking forward to cheering on Team USA next month, and am particularly interested in cheering on some of our incredible women athletes. Oksana Masters, who has previously won eight Paralympic medals in three sports, will compete in Cycling this summer. Jessica Long, a swimmer who has already won 23 medals in three Paralympic Games, will shoot to bring home even more from Tokyo. Darlene Hunter is a two-time wheelchair basketball Paralympian and gold medalist. She is also the team captain for the Tokyo Paralympics.
There are so many more incredible fantastic athletes representing our country at the Summer Paralympics this year, and I would be writing for pages and pages if I told you about each one. Instead of taking my words for it, you should see for yourself! Be sure to check out the 2021 Paralympic Games next month!
About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.