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  • 27 Jun
    导出博客文章Welcome to the fastest-growing event in world sport, a multi-sport competition
    between athletes of extraordinary talent, courage and determination who will
    hold a cumulative TV audience of four billion people across the globe spellbound
    this summer when they perform in Rio de Janeiro.Time to marvel once again, then,
    at the wonders of the Paralympic Games.It is hard to credit that it was only
    three generations ago in 1948 that this burgeoning phenomenon all started with
    just 14 men and two women shooting arrows at a target from a wheelchair, cheered
    on only by a small bunch of enthusiastic spectators and quite invisible to the
    public beyond the English hospital grounds where the quaint fete took place.Yet
    when it rolls up in Brazil this summer, the event which had begun as those 1948
    Stoke Mandeville Games, a novel competition for injured ex-servicemen at a
    spinal injuries unit who had taken up wheelchair archery to boost their
    rehabilitation, will have mushroomed into a spectacular festival featuring 4,350
    athletes in 22 different sports from more than 160 countries.No sports event on
    the planet has been transformed so completely, so hugely or so swiftly. None,
    too, is still evolving as quickly to the point where officials of the
    International Paralympic Committee (IPC) believe their showpiece could
    eventually overtake the football World Cup as the worlds second-biggest sporting
    event in terms of ticket sales behind only the Olympics.Talk about humble,
    primitive beginnings. In 1960, when the first Paralympics were held in Rome,
    Britains first-ever gold medallist Margaret Maughan still smiles at the memory
    of the almost comical operation needed just to get the 70-strong team hoisted up
    to the aircraft doors in a cage on a fork-lift truck to fly them to their
    venue.Once in Italy, Roman soldiers then had to carry athletes over their
    shoulders just to get them to their rooms, so ill-equipped was the Games to
    house the athletes. As for Margaret, she didnt even know she had won her archery
    competition because nobody had told her her scores and she only discovered the
    news when officials came looking for her and had to carry her and her hefty
    wheelchair off the coach to the medal ceremony!It all seems an unreal world away
    from the slick spectacular planned for 2016, which will showcase
    state-of-the-art facilities, see full-time athletes taking advantage of space
    age-designed equipment like £2,000 lightweight racing wheelchairs and watch a
    standard of record-breaking sport that would have seemed inconceivable
    half-a-century ago.We know Rio 2016 will be the most widely broadcast
    Paralympics in history, enthuses Sir Philip Craven, the President of the IPC,
    noting that between 120 and 150 nations will screen the event this year compared
    to 100 in the last edition in London 2012. For the first time, America will be
    on board for major coverage too.This explosion of interest, believes Craven, a
    former Paralympian himself in three different sports, is down to the
    dramatically improving performances of para-athletes, the majority of whom now
    benefit from high-performance training programmes on a par with their Olympic
    counterparts.To give you one example, he says, at the Atlanta 96 Paralympic
    Games, the mens 100 metres T44 for below-knee leg amputees was won in a world
    record 11.36 seconds. At Rio 2016, the US world champion Richard Browne is fully
    confident he can lower his own world record of 10.61 seconds to below 10.5.To
    knock nearly one second off a 100m world record in 20 years is a staggering
    achievement and highlights that para-athletes are getting faster, stronger and
    more agile all the time. Indeed, there are those who are firm believers that in
    25 years the fastest man in the world could well be a Paralympian.And with the
    stellar performances comes the making of stars. One survey showed that less than
    one per cent of the British population could name a Paralympian before the 2012
    Games whereas afterwards 31 per cent of the population could name at least
    five.Paralympians, like BP ambassadors, have a profile like never before.
    Athletes like Marlou van Rhijn, the Dutch sprinter now famed globally as the
    Blade Babe have become role models. Others, like Trinidadian swimmer Shanntol
    Ince have turned into national heroes. Some, like US wheelchair racing legend
    Tatyana McFadden have been social trailblazers as well as the rarest of sporting
    champions.All of which has led to the increasing realisation that no sporting
    event actually does more to break down walls of prejudice and discrimination and
    to change ill-informed, deep-rooted views in society regarding disability than
    this event.We are the worlds number one sporting event for driving social
    inclusion and thats a position we want to cement further in Rio, Craven
    explained recently in a speech in Brazil.For many Brazilians, Rio 2016 will be
    their first experience of Paralympic sport and will be uncertain of what to
    expect. I can promise you a life-changing experience that will make you
    re-evaluate what you believe is humanly possible.You will see sport like never
    before and witness some of the best athletic performances ever delivered.This is
    hard to dispute - and so is the reality that Paralympians are now constantly
    challenging and changing perceptions of sport and of disabilities.A third of
    Britons questioned after 2012 said theyd altered their attitude towards people
    with a disability because of the Games. Thats 20 million people at a stroke.Four
    years earlier, following the Beijing Games, a Chinese government official said
    the perception of a person with a disability had changed there from wretched
    street beggar to a brilliant footballer, shooter or long jumper. Theres been
    compelling evidence too that thousands of people with a disability have been
    able to find jobs more easily because Chinese employers had changed their
    outlook.Of course, it would be foolish to suggest that the Paralympics doesnt
    still have a long, hard road to travel before it helps eradicate the prejudice,
    ignorance and even hostility towards people with disabilities.There is something
    about this event which should give everyone hope. Craven thinks everything
    changed in 1992 in the Barcelona edition when a brilliant organising committee
    turned the Games into a marketable proposition for the first time, with free
    tickets being handed out and more than a million people flocking to watch the
    action.It was there that Dr Stephen Hawking, the great physicist and cosmologist
    who is paralysed from motor neurone disease, struck a cord by telling the world
    at the opening ceremony: Each one has within us the spark of fire, a creative
    touch.That energy burning within its incredible competitors is the fuel that
    makes these Games great, that is pushing the event into uncharted territory. Rio
    will be the biggest yet but Tokyo 2020, with the commercial backing and
    sponsorships already in place, will dwarf it further. The future of the
    Paralympian movement, says Craven, could be exhilarating.At the Olympic Games,
    the motto is citius, altius, fortius but while Paralympians too become ever
    faster, higher, stronger at each edition, there is something else that sets
    their Games apart. Its almost indefinable, a soaring feeling at the events heart
    which the Paralympics own motto Spirit in Motion somehow captures so well.It was
    as Craven told the world from the Birds Nest Stadium in Beijing at the start of
    the 2008 Games: Above all, when we come together we will be part of a creation
    of an almost touchable and definitely breathable, distinctive energy source
    which is at the heart of the Paralympic movement - and its what we call the
    Paralympic spirit.And once it gets hold, you can never let it go. It will last
    you a lifetime.Click here for more exclusive content
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    . The Barrie Colts defenceman, who impressed many with his
    play for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship, is the top-ranked
    skater in the February rankings. He has 19 goals and 24 assists for 43 points in
    45 games with the Colts this season.
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    . Each of Houstons starters scored in double figures as the
    Rockets improved to 2-0 against the Spurs this season, with both victories
    coming on the road. They also moved within 3 1/2 games of San Antonio (22-7) for
    the lead the Southwest Division.
    . -- Derrick Rose shook off poor shooting early to hit clutch shots late and
    Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a
    104-95 preseason victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
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    . -- Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson asked his
    players a simple question during Fridays morning shootaround: How many of them
    had ever been on a team 14 games over .
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    . It might not have mattered. While the Dodgers are preparing
    for the playoffs, the Padres showed their future has promise behind two rookies.
    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Coach Rex Ryan said Thursday the Buffalo Bills are hopeful
    running back LeSean McCoy will be able to play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins
    after injuring his hamstring in Wednesdays practice.McCoy, who Ryan said did not
    suffer a full blown hamstring injury, did not participate in Thursdays practice
    but watched part of the session from the sideline.Well see how he progresses the
    next couple of days, Ryan said Thursday. Hopefully we get him back
    [Sunday].Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn wants to be cautious with McCoys
    injury. When Lynn served as running backs coach last season, McCoy strained his
    hamstring in training camp and the injury lingered into the regular season,
    keeping the star runner out two games in October.I dont want to do what we did
    last year, Lynn said Thursday. Going in, playing 85 percent, reinjuring the
    hamstring and then this thing lingers all year. We just want to get him well and
    back on the field.In addition to McCoy, the Bills were without top receiver
    Robert Woods (foot) and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (hamstring) in Thursdays
    practice.dddddddddddd. Tight end Charles Clay (ankle) returned to practice after
    sitting out Wednesday.Woods remained in a walking boot in the locker room
    Thursday, telling reporters that he is doing everything possible to be able to
    play Sunday but acknowledging that he has yet to test his injured foot in
    practice this week. Woods indicated that X-rays did not reveal any broken bones
    in his foot.I dont think theres a huge concern long term, Ryan said Thursday,
    adding that Woods has yet to be ruled out for the game.If the Bills are without
    McCoy, the team is expected to start Mike Gillislee at running back. Marquise
    Goodwin and Justin Hunter would be expected to take the majority of snaps at
    receiver if Woods cannot play.
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