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THE GAMES NOBODY SAW
THE GAMES NOBODY SAW
Gary Norris Gray-BASN-Staff Reporter
OAKLAND, CA.- The United States Paralympic athletes had one of the best games since 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia. Most Americans did not see these talented athletes on the field, in the pool, and on the gym floor because the National Broadcasting Company Sports Network (NBCSN) had a limited schedule with limited hours. If Disabled Sports fans did not have a computer, it was even harder to enjoy the Rio Games. The Para Games had limited sponsors to promote these athletes. The NBC network, the parent station broadcast the opening and closing in prime time; that was basically it. We have to ask ourselves are disabled Americans second class citizens in the sports world?
The American Para team came in fourth place in medals again behind China 239, The United Kingdom 147, The Ukraine (formerly of The Soviet Union) 117. The Red, White, and Blue are playing with one hand tied behind their backs because State sponsored teams like China, Great Britain, and the Ukraine do not have to worry about who will pay for them to participate in the Games.
The gap is growing between minority athletes and caucasian athletes and their participation. The American Paralympic organization will have to find a way to assist these athletes and their families who may not be able to spend time at practice or spend money for their transportation. Family is more important then sports. The old Eastern Bloc (East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, etc), China, The United Kingdom, and Russia understand this and have supported their athletes through the years. America might have to introduce this idea. This year there was a significant absence of color for TEAM U.S. of A.
The United States sent 289 athletes to South America and the city of Rio. Americans should be very proud of this team which captured 115 medals. The disabled females, like their non-disabled counterparts, stole the show capturing 70 medals.
The Mac crew, the ladies and long time friends have the same (Mc) at the beginning of their names thus MAC TEAM, did their job on the track, Amanda McGrory, Chelsea McClammer, with Tatyana McFadden, and swimmer Jessica Long were the stars of these games for the Americans. Allysa Seely, Haily Danisewicz, and Melissa Stockwell dominated the medals in the PT2 Classification for mid level disabilities. Last, Grace Norman won gold in the paratriathlon, A first time event at the Para Games. Norman won bronze in the 100 meters race track 24 hours later. The next day she ran a sprint race, what energy.
The surprise and joy of these games for the Yankees were the Cycling team which won 18 medals, the most in the short Para-history.
The Men’s basketball team finally found the gold medal, the first gold medal since 1988 in Seoul, Korea. The women also won gold but they were expected to bring it home in 2016. Both teams did this with stingy defense; just like baseball, hockey, and football, teams win with defense. The men at the 7 minute mark of the fourth quarter made two critical steals to capture gold in Rio. The Americans defeated a stubborn Spain team 56-44. The Women continue to dominate Para Games winning their second gold in a row with most of their members are from the midwest where wheelchair basketball is king. The Americans beat Germany for gold 62-45.
The Men’s and Women’s Goalball team reached the medal stand with the men receiving silver in “The Bracket of Death.” both disabled and non disabled games have one, with host Brazil,China, and Lithuania. They defeated Lithuania 11-8 for the Silver Medal. The Women received a bronze medal as they also had to play the host Brazil, losing 7-3. The American ladies did not lose another game but the Brazil game hurt the American chances for gold.
Disabled military athletes are making it known they are there as they won 16 medals. In the near future the Paralympics committees around the world are going to have to make a decision on the participation of these gifted athletes in the Para-Games.The Military currently have their own Summer Games for disabled veterans which are played in April and May so why are they also winning medals in the Paralympic Games? That question needs to be answered.
THANK YOU ATHLETES FOR A JOB WELL DONE SEE YOU IN JAPAN 2020.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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