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A Well-Deserved Paralympic Gold Medal Debut: Becca Meyers Breaks World Record Print E-mail
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By Orge Castellano  September 9, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO – It was a cloudy day outside Rio, but the sunshine of the Brazilian people inside the Aquatics stadium shined bright as athletes from the entire globe were cheered on by the energetic crowd. In the stands were 21-year-old Becca Meyers’s parents, who were supporting her as she prepared for the S13 100 butterfly meter.

She was only 17 when she competed for the first time at a high level in the London 2012 Paralympics, but back then, no one knew who she was. She was the newbie, an underdog. Nowadays, she has a target on her back; she’s the one to beat.


Becca’s parents, Mark and Maria, cheer on their daughter from the stands in her preliminary heat. Sept 8, 2016. Photo by Ken King.

Meyers’s parents got more nervous as the night progressed. Her father, Mark, got out of the stands and waited anxiously in the hallway as his daughter was getting into the water. He returned after the race was finished, more tense than his daughter, but Meyers had been more than ready as she’d been waiting for this moment her entire journey.

Her mother, Maria, said that “every fiber of her wanted this; we’re super proud of her,” and that in her mind, Becca knew she was going to make it. That’s why she had been training extra hard for the past year. Her mother recognized the challenges she had overcome.

“She is the only one in the category who is deaf, being the only one who cannot hear the buzzer when it goes off,” she said.“But for her, it’s not an obstacle; she has to rely on the light. It’s the most frustrating part of the race for her.”

Meyers’s strategy came into play when she came from behind after the turn and overtook her challenging competitor Uzbekistani Odilova Muslima halfway through the second leg down. After she took the lead, she achieved the impossible: a gold medal, the title of Paralympic Champion and a new world record in her S13 100 butterfly meter leg with a time of 1:03.25. The crowd celebrated wildly as she entered the victory ceremony, and her mother teared up as the American flag was raised.

Calm but thrilled about her win, Meyers said after the race:“It feels so amazing. I am so excited to win the first gold medal for USA Swimming and we are going to kill it for the rest of the week. I can’t wait to see what everyone else does.”

The night was emotional and the Meyers family has little time to recover from tonight’s victory as Becca Meyers faces the upcoming 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle and the 200m individual medley all in the S13 category.  There may be no one at these Paralympics who can defeat this fighter.


Becca Meyers celebrates her incredible win on the podium last night at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. Photo by Ken King.

Recap Day One: Team USA Wins Two Gold Medals Print E-mail
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Written by Orge Castellano and Mariya Abedi  Photo: Ken King September 9, 2016

First adys are sometimes tough to get through, but in Rio, things have proven to be quite different for Team USA. When it came to their individual sports, the athletes were ready to shine. We witnessed incredible performances and astonishing winnings.

First, Lex Gillete earned Team USA’s first medal in Athletics with an impressive long jump. He summoned 6.44 meters in the T11 classification, but the gold was conquered by Brazil’s own Ricardo Costa.

The U.S. Cycling team finished the first day of competition with four medals. First-time Paralympian Jamie Whitmore was the first American cyclist to win a medal, winning silver in the C1-2-3* 300m individual. Meanwhile, track cyclist Samantha Bosco competed in the C5 category, winning a bronze medal and edging out Polish opponent Anna Harkowska by 0.004 milliseconds. Bosco’s final time was 3:54.697 in the 3000M individual.

Her teammate Megan Fisher also took a bronze home at the C4 3000M individual pursuit and finished just 0.356 milliseconds ahead of New Zealand’s Katherine Horan. But the U.S. Cycling team did not end the day without a gold medal; first-time Paralympian Morelli Shawn dominated the C4 3000M individual pursuit and broke the Paralympic record by finishing in 3:59.407.

In U.S. Swimming, Jessica Long did it again and claimed silver medal in the pool, followed by Becca Meyers who did not disappoint and tasted the podium with an amazing win, a golden medal for the 100M Butterfly. Her parents were in the stands cheering her up, it was an emotional night for the Meyer’s family, but the fight isn’t over yet Becca still has to compete in four different events in the next few days, but for now, she can relax because as of today, she’s officially a Paralympic Champion.   

And in the world of wheelchair basketball, both the men’s and the women’s teams won by wide margins. The U.S. men’s team took on host country Brazil, winning 75-38, and the U.S. women’s team played against France and won 93-37. The women’s team broke two U.S. records: most points scored in a game (previous record was 75 points in 2008) and largest margin of victory (previous record was 50 points in 2004). Both teams continue to advance to the semi-finals.

*As per the International Paralympic Committee, bicycle C1-5 : Athletes who are able to use a standard bicycle compete in the 5 sport classes C1-5. The sport class profiles include amputations, impaired muscle power or range of motion and also impairments affecting coordination, such as ataxia and athetosis. Sport class C1 is allocated to athletes with the most severe activity limitation, while the sport class C5 is allocated to athletes who meet the minimum disability criteria. For example, cyclists with a double below-the-knee amputation who use a prosthesis are likely to compete in the sport class C3, while an athlete with a below knee amputation and a prosthesis on one leg would compete in the sport class C4.

Team USA Track Cycling on a Medal Quest Print E-mail
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TeamUSA training yesterday morning at the Velodrome

By Orge Castellano  September 8, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — Team USA cycling had a productive training session at the Velodrome in Rio de Janeiro, ahead of the Opening Ceremony. With the Paralympic Games ready to kick off, the cycling athletes know the stakes are really high and are pushing hard on the track. They know that if they want to get their hands on a gold medal this time,  they’ll have to train harder to be ahead of the game.

Jennifer Schuble 5x Paralympic Medalist and Army Veteran at practice yesterday 7th Sept.
Jennifer Schuble 5x Paralympic Medalist and Army Veteran at practice yesterday Sept. 7th showing incredible artwork on her helmet.Photo by Michael A. Clubine.

In Rio, a total of seven athletes are returning Paralympians who collectively amassed 12 of the 17 U.S. cycling medals picked up at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Among them is Joe Berenyi, who won gold and silver in individual events and a bronze in the team sprint in London. Yet, a lot of things still need to be accomplished. Opponents from the Great Britain team dominated in London with 22 medals and before that in Beijing 2008 with 17. Team USA faces a huge challenge to overcome the Britons in Rio.

The track competition is taking place on the 250-meter oval track in the Velodrome at Barra Olympic Park, from Sept. 8th to the 11th. Eighteen events will be contested on the track. Team USA consists of 6 women and 4 men, some of them competing both in track and road events. Let the medal quest begin.

For full coverage on Cycling track at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games follow the live streaming on 15 HD channels on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) website Paralympic.org

Joe Berenyi Paralympic Cyclist, 4x World Champion trains 2 days before competition starts.
Joe Berenyi Paralympic Cyclist, 4x World Champion trains two days before competition starts. Photo by Michael A. Clubine.
Christopher Murphy, first time at the games testing the Omega timing system. Photo by Michael A. Clubine.
Samantha Bosco, first time at the games testing the Omega timing system. Photo by Michael A. Clubine.
Opening Ceremony - 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio Brazil Print E-mail
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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.

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.

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.

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
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