Paralympics 2020: A Show of Resilience and Courage

Priya Kommu, Staff Writer

The 16th Summer Paralympic games were held from August 24, 2021 through September 5, 2021. The games lasted two weeks and 4,403 athletes competed in 22 sports. 

The games were action packed from start to finish, with many records being broken and remade.

The United States team was large, with 242 athletes competing. Matt Scott, five time paralympian, was the flag bearer for the team in the opening ceremony. Of all athletes on the team, more than 50 percent had college ties, representing 77 different colleges total. 

Overall, the athletes competing represented a wide age range, with the youngest athlete, Ugandan swimmer Husnah Kukundakwe, being fourteen years old, and the oldest athlete, Slovenian shooter Franc Pinter, being sixty-seven years old. Husnah Kukundakwe had two personal bests, with 38.14 for the 50m freestyle and 1:24.85 for the 100m freestyle. 

Speaking of records being broken and remade, David Brown lost his world record in the 100 metre race and did not make it to the finals. Brown, known as the fastest blind man in the world, did not seem too torn up about the loss, saying that he was just training for the Paris 2024 games. Brown was unable to get used to a replacement guide after his longtime running guide, Jerome Avery, who got hurt early this year. This affected his overall performance at the games. 

Athanasios Ghavelasi of Greece remade the world record running a qualifying heat in 10.88 seconds, breaking Brown’s record of 10.92 seconds, which was set in 2014. 

The games also had many uplifting moments that left people with a hopeful and happy feeling. One of these moments occurred when two athletes from Afghanistan, Hossain Rasouli and Zakia Khudadadi, arrived at the games for the closing ceremonies after being evacuated from their home country. 

Another moving moment from the games was when visually impaired sprinter Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo, a runner from Cape Verde’s running guide, got proposed to by Manuel Antonio Vaz da Veiga. Everyone around the couple was cheering and the moment unified the athletes that had been competitors just a minute ago.

The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games were action-packed and unforgettable. The next paralympic games will be held in Paris 2024. 

Below is a breakdown of medals won by each country: