A short portrait of Alex Zanardi, Formula 1 driver turned Paralympian hand bike world champion. [SLVimeo] [more inside]
In 2009, ESPN producer Lisa Fenn worked on a story about two high-school wrestlers, Leroy Sutton and Dartanyon Crockett. Sutton was hit by a train when he was a child and had both his legs amputated; Crockett is legally blind. After the story aired, Fenn stayed in Sutton and Crockett's lives, and the three formed a surprising, enduring bond. [more inside]
In January 2003, Esther Vergeer, a 21-year old Dutch wheelchair tennis player lost her singles match to Daniela Di Toro in the quarter-finals of the Sydney International. What no one knew at the time was that this was the end of an era. Now 31, Vergeer hasn't lost a singles match since. The world's most dominant athlete in an individual sport, she's going for her 470th consecutive victory today, in the gold medal match at the Paralympics. [more inside]
On September 15, 2001, at the American Memorial 500, Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi lost both legs, and 70 percent of his blood, in a horrific crash (around 1:40, not for the squeamish). Yesterday, he won gold in the 2012 Paralympics. [more inside]
In 1981, in response to the UN International Year of Disabled Persons, Ian Dury released the single Spasticus Autisticus. Despite Dury himself being disabled, the song provoked a negative response from the National Spastics Society (now Scope). The BBC denied the song airplay, effectively killing it as a single. Last night, as part of the Paralympic opening ceremony, John Kelly, Orbital and the Graeae Theatre Company performed a version of the song to an audience of millions, bringing the revolutionary classic back to the prominence it surely deserves. [more inside]
Atos Healthcare is a French company that's a contractor to the UK department for Work and Pensions, hired to test disabled benefits claimants on whether they're fit to work. If they are, they'll lose their disability benefits and are back on normal unemployment benefits. It is a controversial company, as its standards for declaring people fit to work are very low, as The Daily Mirror has been showing. By design or through incompetence, quite a few people who are clearly incapable of work are declared fit for work anyway, lose their benefits and some of them even die because of it, either through suicide or through the stress and healthcare problems caused by losing their benefits. (previously.) [more inside]
A new commercial for the 2012 Paralympics, done in one continuous take without special effects, is "atmospheric, powerful and hugely inspirational, exploring one runner’s journey back to the track." (via)
Live online broadcast of the 2010 Paralympic Games (Silverlight required). The Paralympics are back, this time in Vancouver. Sledge hockey, alpine & cross-country skiing, biathalon and curling. You can watch every event live or recorded on ParalympicSport.tv or see some photos at The Big Picture.
Photos of the 2008 Paralympics. Sadly the Paralympics rarely garners the coverage of the Olympics, but thanks to the internet you can witch videos of the competitions at Universal Sports (though it may be region-blocked, require registration and only seems to work on Windows).
Anyone up for a quick game of Murderball?
Just because you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't have a ruck. Browsing our current favourite website I found myself intrigued. This year's paralympics will again feature Wheelchair Rugby, a sport that has been alternatively described as 'Chess with Violence'. The rules are explained here though I think you might have to actually see a game to figure out how they would work in practice.