The Paralympic Games are running from Sept. 7 to 18 in Rio de Janeiro (known as “Rio”), Brazil.
More than 170 nations have athletes competing in the Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic Games follow the 2016 Summer Olympic Games which took place in Rio from Aug. 5 to 21. (TKN doesn’t offer full news coverage during the summer; visit the Official Rio Olympics website, link below, for details on the Olympic Games.)
Paralympics are similar to Olympic Games, except that the athletes have a disability, “including impaired muscle power, limb deficiency… vision impairment (or) intellectual impairment,” according a definition on Wikipedia.
There are 24 sports in the Paralympics, including many of the standard Olympic ones like rowing, archery and judo. But there are also many sports unique to para-sports, such as wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing and sitting volleyball.
Paralympic sports competition is intense. That’s because it’s the best-of-the-best in the world for each sport, competing.
And this year is no exception. Already, Canada’s Michelle Stilwell has made history by becoming the “first female
Canadian paralympian to win gold medals in two different summer sports,” according to CBC News. She won gold in the women’s 400-metre T52 final (her seventh Paralympic medal) and in 2000 she won gold in wheelchair basketball.
This year, special Paralympic medals were created with the special needs of some of the athletes in mind. Each one has Braille (a system of raised dots that people with visual impairments can “read” with their fingers) writing on it. And each one contains some little steel balls that rattle. The noise is different depending on whether the medal is gold, silver or bronze.
The 2016 Paralympics continue until Sept. 18.
By Kathleen Tilly
Have you seen the television commercial for the 2016 Paralympics? It is a remarkable and moving tribute to extraordinary Paralympic athletes set to the Sammy Davis Jr’s song, “Yes I Can.” If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IocLkk3aYlk.
Before watching this commercial, what was your perception about Paralympic athletes and people who have disabilities? Did this commercial change these perceptions? If so, how?
Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
As the article explained, “Paralympics are similar to Olympic Games, except that the athletes have a disability.” Pick a sport that is in both the Olympics and the Paralympics and explain how it similar and/or different in each of these games.
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Language Feature: Portmanteau word
The word “paralympic” was created in the 1950s and it was a combination of two words: “paraplegic” — someone who has an impairment in the function of the lower part of their body, and “Olympic.” This type of word is called a portmanteau word. While the Paralympic Games brings together athletes with many different disabilities (not just people with paraplegia), the name for the games has stayed.
Can you think of any other portmanteau words? What two words and meanings do they combine?