Wheelz, flags, boos and heartfelt cheers were all part of an unforgettable. After a tense run-up the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games got underway in spectacular style. The financial crisis and poor ticket sales that had dogged preparations appear to have both been solved in time for the party – although the Russian team, of course, weren’t invited.
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Day 1
Disabled extreme sportsman, Aaron ’Wheelz’ Fotheringham, raced down an impressively steep ramp and into an incredible somersault as if to remind the worldwide audience that anything is possible.
Most of the estimated 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries set to compete in 528 medal events across 22 sports over 11 days of sporting action paraded into the stadium.
ParalympicsGB received a warm welcome as their 264-strong team led by ten-time Paralympic equestrian champion and flag bearer, Lee Pearson arrived.
Commenting afterwards, Pearson said: “That was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. I am a proud Brit and I’m even more proud now after leading the ParalympicsGB athletes out… Now let’s crack on with the Games and show the World what we can do.”
Despite the party atmosphere, Brazil still faces political turmoil and Michel Temer, the acting President of the Republic of Brazil, officially opened the Games to the sound of boing from some home fans. Nevertheless the spirit of the event was restored after retired Brazilian Paralympian, Marcia Maslar slipped over whilst carrying the torch as a result of torrential rain. Cheers rang out as she regained her composure, proving that it isn’t about how many times we fall down but rather, how many times we get up again that really counts.
See Channel 4’s report on Day 1 for more information… http://paralympics.channel4.com/news/rio-2016-paralympics-guide/