Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
Opening Ceremony - 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio Brazil Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
The 2016 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony took place at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janiero. Photo by Michael. A Clubine.

by Mariya Abedi   September 8, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO – Let the games begin! The 2016 Paralympic games kicked off at Maracanã Stadium with a spectacle of fireworks, stunts and Brazilian music and dancing.

Extreme wheelchair athlete Aaron “Wheelz”Fotheringham set the mood as he barreled down a 6-story high MegaRamp in a wheelchair and somersaulted through a ring of fireworks, showing that people with disabilities are capable of anything. A human kaleidoscope, a massive beach scene and wheelchair parade made use of the projection system Brazil invested in for the Olympics and Paralympics.

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Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham makes a grand entrance down a MegaRamp. Photo by Michael. A Clubine.

As with the Olympics, the Opening Ceremony showcased Brazilian culture, and the crowd loved every minute of it. Samba music connected different portions of the program together and kept the party going for the fans in the arena.

But the party had started in the arena long before the program began; people took part in crowd waves around the stadium and their enthusiasm and passion permeated the arena in spite of news headlines dominated by the country’s economy, doping scandal and Paralympic budget concerns. While ticket sales to the Paralympic Games have been lagging compared to previous games, the 78,000-seat arena was close to full as athletes began their parade around the stage.

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Allison Jones, a Paralympic cyclist for Team USA, carries in the flag. Photo by Michael. A Clubine.

This year’s games brought 159 nations together with more than 4,300 athletes competing, including two refugee athletes from Syria and Iran. As the delegations entered the arena, each country was preceded by a jigsaw puzzle piece, which then formed a human heart on the stage– emphasizing the night’s theme of inclusion and the passionate spirit of the Paralympics.

The president of the International Paralympic Committee, Philip Craven, touched on those same notes in his opening speech, calling for Brazil to overcome its hurdles.

“In a country which has faced major challenges of late, Paralympians will switch your focus from perceived limitations, to a world full of possibility and endless opportunity,” he said. “Show the world that there is no ‘them’, there is only ‘us’. A world where people of all abilities, races, nationalities and sexualities can come together as one.”

While the athletes were the main focus of the night, the night was not without its share of political protests. The crowds jeered Brazil President Michel Temer as he officially announced the opening of the Paralympic Games. Protesters circled the arena shouting “Temer out” as guards watched from a distance.

And though Russia was noticeably absent due to a ban for state-sponsored doping, a non-athlete member of the Belarus delegation carried in their neighbor’s flag as a show of solidarity. The flag was confiscated at the ceremony, and in a statement, the International Paralympic Committee said they banned the individual from the Paralympics.

But the crowd was unfazed by the distraction. They continued to cheer on the athletes, one delegation after another. And when former Brazilian Paralympian Marcia Malsar fell but then got back up while carrying the Paralympic flame around the stage, fans throughout the stadium erupted in a standing ovation.

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Amy Purdy and her dance partner for the performance, a KUKA robot. Photo by Michael A. Clubine.

Paralympian Amy Purdy took to the stage in a 5-minute dance-off with a KUKA robot, highlighting the role of technology in the Paralympics. The Sochi bronze medalist glided across the floor, dancing to a Samba-inspired number. Purdy switched between two sets of prosthetics and even wore a dress made using a 3D printer.

“Showing the world the possibilities of Paralympic athletes and just how interesting and cool our situations can be, is a huge part of this dance and why we’re doing it in the Opening Ceremony,” Purdy said. “It combines the whole idea of the Paralympics: human spirit and technology. That’s what this whole dance does; it works together.”

And judging by the loud applause at the end, the crowd agreed.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 21:01
 
Paralympics in RIO 2016 Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   

 

 

Check out this link for Daily Updates live from RIO 2016.   https://media.wheelchairsportsfederation.org/

Reports on the Paralympians and their events will be covered by Wheelchair Sports Federation volunteers and updated daily.

  

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 September 2016 13:41
 
3rd Annual Spinal Cord Injury Awareness 5K Print E-mail
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The 3rd Annual Spinal Cord Injury Awareness 5K was held at Prospect Park on Sunday May 22, 2016.  A little rain shower didn't dampen the spirits of more than 200 people who came out to run, walk and roll Prospect Park to support spinal cord injury awareness.  We had a fantastic turnout and lots of fun!  Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors:  Presenting Sponsor El Dorado Mobility and Gold Sponsor Avery Biomedical and the dedicated runners and rollers who set-up fundraising pages, we raised over $10,500 for our organizing non-profits.  For more information for to http://www.sciawareness5k.com/

   

 
Having some Scuba Fun! Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

 

Sam Greenberg (above) just returned from a week long scuba diving trip in Bonaire in the Carribbean with friends.  In addition to scuba diving, Sam is a defenseman on the Wheelchair Sports Federation Sled Rangers junior team (www.wsfsledrangers.org).  Sam was certified to scuba dive with our good friends at Stay-Focused (www.stay-focused.org), which is a tremendous organization that teaches physically disabled teenagers to scuba dive in the Cayman Islands.  Keep blowing bubbles, Sam!

       

Last Updated on Friday, 20 May 2016 15:24
 
CUNY - Gateway to Gold Adaptive Sports Clinic Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   

 

CUNY Athletic Conference hosted Gateway to Gold Experience event on Sunday April 17, 2016 from 9 am to 4 pm at Queens College.  Over 50 athletes participated in Adaptive Sports and are on their way to the next steps in athlete development. Athlete development consists of training, coaching, competition structure and classification opportunities. To help empower those in that process, here are some of the resources that were on display at the Gateway to Gold event.

To learn more about athlete development and its pathways, please see the American Development Model for Paralympic Sport at the following direct link: http://www.teamusa.org/us-paralympics/community/american-development-model

 

Cited resources:

·         Paralympic Sport Club finder (aka Find a Club) – Searchable by state and provides contact information for clubs: http://findaclub.usparalympics.org/

·         U.S. Paralympics sports page – Great area of information on all Paralympic sports, events calendars by sport or what national organization to connect with: http://www.teamusa.org/us-paralympics/sports

·         What is classification? – Click on the following link to learn more: http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/athlete-classifications/how-are-athletes-classified/

·         Paralympic Sport Coaching Guide – Great resource listing each Paralympic sport with fact sheets and guidance: http://www.teamusa.org/us-paralympics/sports/coaching-guide

 

The first step is to get involved in an area program to develop and learn skills. Local and regional program connections (click on each program name for website):

·         CUNY Athletic Conference

o   Mike Sporton;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·         NYC Parks and Recreation Adaptive Sports

o   Chris Noel;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·         Wheelchair Sports Federation

o   John Hamre;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·         Row New York

o   Matt Logue;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·         Garden Empire Volleyball Association

o   Bob Baker;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·         North Jersey Navigators

o   Jimmy Cuevas;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·         Children’s Lightning Wheels

o   Trisha Yurochko;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Local and regional competitions:

·         2016 Tri-State Regional Games, May 27 -29thhttp://www.tswaa.com/34th_annual_tristate_wheelchair.htm

 

National and International Paralympic Committee sanctioned competitions:

·         Desert Challenge (Mesa, AZ): http://www.desertchallengegames.com/

·         Great Lakes Regional Games (Chicago, IL): http://www.glasa.org/special-events/great-lakes-regional-games/

·         2016 Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals (Madison, WI): http://www.juniornationals2016.com/

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 02:56
 
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