From 29 August to 9 September, be prepared for a spectacle of inspiration, bravery, and human strength as the 2012 Paralympic Games goes into full swing. Held in London, United Kingdom, the fourteenth Summer Paralympic Games is the second-largest multi-sport event ever held in the UK after the Summer Olympics. With over 4,200 athletes from 164 nations competing, this year’s Games is expected to be the largest and most commercially successful Paralympics ever.
The symbolic Paralympic torch relay began on 22 August, where four Paralympic flames were lit on the highest peaks of each nation of the United Kingdom; Scafell Pike in England, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, and Snowdon in Wales. After the ceremonial lighting, the four flames were then brought down from each peak and ‘stored’ in lanterns. On 24 August the flames were used to ignite the ceremonial cauldrons in the respective capital cities (London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff) during “Flame Festival” events. On 28 August, the four national flames were united to form a single Paralympic flame for the final relay to the Olympic stadium in London.
The games opening ceremony was held on 29 August at the Olympic Stadium and it was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” and themed around the concept of “Enlightenment”. The final bearers of the Paralympic flame saw several generations of Paralympic athletes being represented; Joe Townsend—a Royal Marine who lost both of his lower limbs after stepping on a explosive device whilst on duty in Afghanistan, delivered the flame to Olympic Stadium via a zipline! He then passed the flame to the British Five-a-side football captain David Clarke, who then handed it over to the chosen lighter of the Paralympic cauldron, Margaret Maughan—winner of Britain’s first ever gold medal at the inaugural Paralympics in Rome.
Will China continue its dominance at the top of the table and will Great Britain hold onto second place with Russia hot on its heels? With a few more days to go, anything is possible as we have seen from the indomitable spirit shown by all the athletes.
Here’s a look at today, 4 Sept 2012 medal table.