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NBC's Olympics coverage has long been built on a foundation of human-interest stories and showcasing athletes' road to the Games. The same philosophies will apply to the coverage of Paralympics, which will air on the network for the first time.
Sunday will mark the first time that Paralympics coverage will air on the main NBC network and is part of 1,200 hours of programming airing across NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel and digital properties. The Paralympics began in Tokyo on Aug. 24 and continue through Sept. 5.
NBC will have three weekend docu-follow series episodes which will show the stories and performances of athletes competing in Tokyo. Sunday's episode, which will air at 7 p.m. EDT, will feature U.S. team flagbearers Melissa Stockwell (triathlon) and Chuck Aoki (wheelchair rugby), along with swimmer Jessica Long.
NBC's Mark Levy, the SVP of Original Production and Creative, said the one-year delay of the Games due to coronavirus allowed them to be able to dive deeper into athletes' back stories.
"We really want our viewers to feel connected to the Paralympians. We want to give them a chance to care and cheer for them," Levy said. "It's our opportunity through the primetime shows to reach a lot of people and share these back stories."
Long — who entered Tokyo with 23 career medals, including 13 gold — has had part of her story shown on Toyota ads that premiered earlier this year during the Super Bowl. Sunday, though, will allow viewers to see her visit to Russia for the first time in 2013 and meeting her birth mother for the first time.
Long was born with fibular hemimelia, a genetic abnormality which caused her lower legs to not develop properly. She was given up for adoption and was adopted at 13 months old. Her lower legs were amputated five months later.
Future episodes will show Long in competition, as well as how her Toyota ad has inspired people.
Stockwell is the first female American soldier to lose a limb in active combat when a roadside bomb exploded while she was leading a convoy in Iraq. She was also the first Iraq War veteran who qualified for the Paralympics in 2008.Aoki and the wheelchair rugby team are looking to win gold after a tough loss to Australia in Rio in 2016.
The shows will also show swimmer Abbas Karimi, who is part of the six-member Paralympic Refugee Team.
"To be able to showcase all these athletes with disabilities and the opportunity to create a dialogue, we're hoping that people's perceptions might change," Levy said. "That's really compelling for us and a real important reason why we're sharing these stories."
Levy is also hoping that people who watch Sunday will possibly tune in at some point to the 12 hours of daily coverage that is on NBCSN. NBC's other Paralympic docu-follow series will air Sept. 4 and 5. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Olympics, Tokyo, Paralympics, NBC
The Paralympic Games are a major international sporting event for athletes with impairments. The Paralympics are divided into Winter Games and Summer Games that alternate every two years. The Paralympics take place shortly after the conclusion of Olympics and since the late 20th century, the Paralympics have been hosted in the same city as the Olympic Games. The host of the 2020 Olympic Games was Tokyo; hence the 2020 Paralympic Games is also hosted by Tokyo. The Games begun on the 25th of August, Tuesday and will end on the 6th of September, Monday. The Paralympic Games have grown in both size and variety throughout the years. According to Britannica, The Paralympics in 1960 hosted 400 athletes from 23 countries participating in eight sports. Just over 50 years later, at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, more than 4,200 athletes representing 164 countries participated in 20 sports.
After the finest performance at the Olympics, it's the time of the Indian Paralympians. India first competed in the Summer Paralympic Games in 1968, then again in 1972, and then not again until the 1984 Games. After that, India has competed in every edition of the Summer Games. It has never competed in the Paralympic Winter Games.
Prime Minister Naremdra Modi with the Indian Contingent for Rio 2016 Paralympics. Wikimedia
Here is a brief history of the medals won by Indian Paralympians:
1984, New York (US), Stoke Mandeville (UK) Paralympics:
Joginder Singh Bedi took silver in shotput event and bronze within the discus and javelin throws. Bhimrao Kesarkar won silver in the men's javelin throw event. Bhimrao Kesarkar won silver in the men's javelin throw event.
2004, Athens Paralympics:
Davendra Jhajharia won gold in the men's javelin throw at the Athens. He established a new world record in Athens with a throw of 62.15 meters. In the 56kg men's power lifting event, Rajinder Singh Rahelu participated. By lifting a weight of 157.5kg, he won bronze.
2012, London Paralympics:
With a leap of 1.74 metres, Girisha Nagarajegowda won silver in the men's high jump.
2016, Rio Paralympics:
In the men's javelin throw event in Rio, Jhajharia threw the spear 63.97 metres, becoming the first Indian to win two gold medals at the Paralympics. Mariyappan Thangavelu won gold in the high jump at Rio, leaping 1.89 metres. With a best throw of 4.61 metres, Deepa Malik became the first woman from India who achieved a Paralympic gold in the shot put event in Rio also, Varun Singh Bhati earned the bronze medal in the high jump event at the Rio Olympics, joining compatriot Mariyappan Thangavelu on the podium.
Keywords: Paralympics, India, Tokyo 2020, Rio Paralympics, Summer Games.
TOKYO - The Tokyo Paralympics open Tuesday after a year-long pandemic delay and with the virus continuing to cast a long shadow as Japan battles a record surge in cases.
As at the Olympics, the event will be marked by strict virus rules, with almost all spectators banned and tough restrictions on athletes and other participants.
While a swell of domestic support emerged during the Olympics after months of negative polls, there is deep concern in Japan as the Paralympics approach with the country going through a fifth virus wave.
More than 25,000 new cases were recorded on Thursday, and medics across the country have warned hospitals are at breaking point with serious cases also at record highs.
It's a challenging environment for the most important sports event for disabled athletes, and International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons has warned participants against complacency.
Despite the backdrop, IPC officials insist the reach of the event will be "incredible.""Of course, the fact that we will not have spectators at the venues is a challenge," Parsons told AFP in an interview. "But we believe we will reach more than 4 billion people through broadcasting."A
A woman walks past a sign of the 2020 Paralympics Image source: voavoa
Local officials say the Games can be held safely, with athletes and other participants subject to the same anti-infection rules that applied to the Olympics.
Competitors can only enter the Paralympic Village shortly before their event and must leave within 48 hours of the end of their competition.
They will be tested daily and limited to moving between training venues, competition sites and the Village.
The measures are intended to prevent the Games from becoming a superspreader event -- and officials say the Olympics proved the restrictions work.
There were 552 positive cases linked to the Olympics reported from July 1 until Sunday, the majority among Japan residents employed by the Games or working as contractors.
So far, 138 cases related to the Paralympics have been confirmed, also mostly among Japan-based Olympic officials, though at least four athletes have also tested positive.
But Olympic officials say there is no evidence of infection spreading from the Games to the rest of Japan, where case numbers were already on the rise.
Still organizers acknowledge the worsening environment.
"The infection situation today is different to how it was before the Olympics. It has deteriorated," said Tokyo 2020 official Hidemasa Nakamura on Friday. "And the local medical system is also in a very tight situation."
The virus surge has caused tensions, with some local regions and schools cancelling planned trips to Games events despite support for the programme from Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
The mood among Paralympians remains buoyant though, after the uncertainties of the year-long delay.
"It's our time to take aim at gold!" tweeted U.S. archer Matt Stutzman, a Paralympic silver medalist who uses the handle "Armless Archer."
Stutzman is among those likely to be making an appearance on the medal podium during the Games, which will see 4,400 athletes from around 160 national teams competing.
There are 22 sports, with athletes competing in different categories and classes depending on the nature of their disability. Badminton and taekwondo are appearing for the first time.
Top names include Germany's Markus Rehm, dubbed the "Blade Jumper" for his gravity-defying feats in long jump, which have earned him three gold medals and a bronze.
He has pushed to be included in the Olympics, but so far without success over concerns that his prosthetic blade gives him an advantage.
Other household names include Tatyana McFadden, the American wheelchair racer who will be competing in her fifth summer Paralympics.
She also appeared at the Sochi Winter Games, where she won a silver medal in the country where she was born, as her adoptive U.S. mother and Russian birth mother cheered her on.
Japan will be hoping it can repeat the gold rush that saw it bring home a record 58 gold Olympic medals.
Among its top medal hopes is Shingo Kuneida, the reigning world No. 1 wheelchair men's single champion and considered one of the greatest figures in the sport. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics, Sports
With para-badminton all set for a debut at the Paralympics this year, India’s Manasi Joshi was training hard to give her best in Tokyo. The Covid-19 pandemic outbreak though postponed the Games to next year.
Originally scheduled to take place from August 25 to September 6, 2020, the Games will now be held from August 25 to September 5, 2021. “This year has not been an easy one for any of us,” Manasi said.
“I was eagerly looking forward to the Paralympic Games but with it being postponed, I’ve chosen to see this as an opportunity to practice and train harder,” she added.
The para-badminton champion also revealed that she recently got a new blade prosthetic leg in Mumbai and will be adapting to it in time for the Paralympics next year.
“It is a little tough to adapt to this change as you need to learn the technicalities of it. But I believe in turning every adversity into an opportunity, and I will continue to strive harder and get my A-game on for the next year,” she said.
Manasi, who lost her left leg in an accident in 2011, grabbed headlines by winning the World Championships in Basel, Switzerland last year. But her pet event — SL3 singles is not included in the Paralympics. The only way she can qualify now is through the tough women’s doubles and mixed doubles categories.
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She recently became the first Indian para-athlete to get a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll modeled to her likeness. Talking about her association with Barbie, Manasi said: “It’s truly an honor to be recognized as a Barbie role model and have an OOAK doll modeled after me. It’s a wonderful transition from having Barbie, as a part of my childhood, to have a doll that looks just like me.”
“Since its inception, the women who have become a part of this initiative have challenged gender stereotypes inspiring girls to be whatever they want to be! It makes me proud to be in this league and inspire girls to tap into their limitless potential,” she added. (IANS)