Posts by Grace

A Fiery Finish to the Games: Paralympic Closing Ceremony

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Blog

A Fiery Finish to the Games: Paralympic Closing Ceremony

2 weeks, and over 1,500 medals later, sadly, the London 2012 Paralympic games have come to an end, but we saw a fiery finish to the games in true British style. At the start of the ceremony, Captain Luke Sinnott, a soldier who lost both his legs in Afghanistan 2010, climbed to the top of a pole to raise the union flag. 164 Paralympian flag carriers were also present carrying the flags of the countries represented at the Paralympic games.

Many very well deserved words of appreciation were given where due with a speeches from International Paralympic Committee president, Sir Philip Craven and Lord Sebastian Coe, the London 2012 chairman who received an amazing standing ovation from the crowd of 80,000 as he thanked the Game Makers and shared some of his own most memorable moments with them. Both were highly emotional when speaking of the Olympic and Paralympic games that were ” made in Britain”. Coe also paid tribute to the Olympic events for the new records of television viewing , ticket revenues and sporting achievement caused by the games.  ”Finally, there are some famous words you can find stamped on the bottom of a product. Words, that when you read them, you know mean high quality, mean skill, mean creativity,” said Coe. Craven also added that the London Games were the “greatest ever”.

The extinguishing of the flame, was sound-tracked by the great British band;  Coldplay as Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock eventually the flame that burned throughout the Olympic and Paralympic games. Simmonds, who is the winner of four Paralympic medals in the pool including two golds, was given the honour of putting out the Paralympic flame which was lit just 12 days ago in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic games. Simmonds and Peacock then passed through the Paralympic athletes ass  international musical guests Jay-Z and Rihanna from the US performed their song ‘ Run  This Town’. A montage of the best moments of the games was played and before the ceremony came to a final close Coldplay’s ‘waterfall’ was played as the athletes covered the pitch.

They then passed the flame through the crowd of Paralympic athletes as Jay Z, Rihanna and Coldplay played Run This Town. Coldplay’s The Scientist sound tracked a montage of the best moments of the Games, before they closed the show with Every Teardrop is a Waterfall as many of the athletes streamed onto the pitch. Fireworks went off along the Thames and over the Olympic Park, with a projection on the  Houses of Parliament that read: “Thank you London, thank you UK.”

 Also, giving us a taste of what is to come, Brazil took the stage giving their presentation for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games with sparkles, a lot of colourful drumming and a beautiful number by a blind ballet troupe; ballet with a Brazillian twist.

These games have truly been a success and the Britain managed to take 3rd place in both the Olympic and Paralympic games. The nation is extremely proud of its achievements in these games and look forward to what is next to come in the UK. The next generation has surely been inspired.

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Ellie Simmonds: Poster girl for the Paralympics wins again!

Posted by on Sep 3, 2012 in Blog

Ellie Simmonds: Poster girl for the Paralympics wins again!

Ellie Simmonds; a true example of one who is an inspiration for the next generation. Great Britain’s Eleanor Simmonds of Walsall, claimed her second gold medal of the London 2012 Paralympic games, winning the SM6 200m individual medley on Monday 3rd September, and at 17 years of age, she is yet to complete her A- Levels. What an achievement! Her victory came from a very tight 9 second gap between her and main rival, Germany’s Verena Schott, who took silver. After her victory over USA’s Victoria Arlen in the 400m freestyle, where she took five seconds off the World Record time, the fans and crowd in the packed Aquatics Centre, roared in glee to see that she had yet again beaten the world record she had set a few days before, winning her race in 3min 05.36sec! An outstanding performance, although breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly legs are not her strongest areas, when it comes to the freestyle, Simmonds is unrivalled!

“Paralympic Poster Girl – in all her Golden Glory”

Beginning her journey as an athelete from a young age when she started swimming at the age of 5 , Ellie became the youngest Briton to win an Olympic or Paralympic medal at the age of 13. this was the beginning of her rapid rise into the eye of public which was followed by her receiving  award from Queen Elizabeth II at 14 years of age. fast forward a short amount of years later and Ellie Simmonds is one of the most recognised Paralympic athletes in Great Britain. Ellie lives with a genetic disorder called Achondroplasia; a disorder of bone growth that causes the most common type of dwarfism. Despite what some may see as a hindrance, we are witnesses of her progress and achievement and are assured that this is only the beginning of greater things.

She awaits two more races; the S6 50m freestyle final on Tuesday 4th September and the 100m on Saturday 8th September. Simmonds is a great example of progress also, as she has already achieved her two medals despite only being able to come 5th in previous Paralympic games. She said to  be on track for a ‘four medal haul’ this Paralympics.

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Richard Whitehead: He Came He Saw He Conquered!

Posted by on Sep 2, 2012 in Blog

Richard Whitehead: He Came He Saw He Conquered!

“I’m determined to set a new standard in Paralympic running….. My aim is to use London 2012 as platform to inspire people from all walks of life” These were the words of 36-year-old Richard Whitehead from Nottinghamshire. On Saturday 1st September at the London 2012 Paralympics, he did just that. Thousands were inspired by the British athlete who won the Gold medal in the 200m T42 Athletics on Saturday in record time. Richard gained a new level of respect when he declared he was dedication his victory to his fellow sportsman, Simon Mellows from Woodborough who had died from sarcoma, a rare cancer that mostly affect the limbs neck and head.

'Whitehead Salutes in Victory'[5184

Normally a marathon (long distance) runner, Richard had to take to a different style of running (short-distance) and despite this, still came first. In his own words, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Having slipped at the start of his race, Richard made what could be called a miraculous recovery, going on to secure a gold medal at the end.  Hailed by the 60,000+ crowd as he crossed the finish line, Richard gave a two-gun salute in victory. Richard is an example of pushing past the odds and his victory is an encouragement that will stir up many hearts.

Just as Anthony Ogogo, Nick Dempsey and many others had post boxes painted in their honour, the Royal Mail decided to celebrate Richard Whitehead’s win by painting a postbox gold in his home village; Lowdham.  Richard said it was Simon who inspired him to take up running and still continued playing cricket, even after having his leg amputated because of his illness. Truly an inspiration to all who hear of these great men.

With two amputated legs, Richard Whitehead is a record holder in the 200m, half-marathon and marathon for double amputees. An applaud of respect is due to him and with the 400m and 4 x 100m still to run, we wish Richard Whitehead the best for the races to come.

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Mark Colbourne: Victory for a great role model

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Blog

Mark Colbourne: Victory for a great role model

It has been a good second day for GB Cyclists at the London 2012 Paralympics. Cyclists Shaun McKeownJon-Allan Butterworth, Darren Kenny, Aileen McGlynn and Mark Colbourne all winning gold, silver and bronxe medals for Great Britain between them.

42 year old Mark Colbourne of Tredegar, South Wales, won the silver medal on Thursday,  in the C1-2-3 time trial and on Friday, he claimed the gold medal in the C1 3km individual pursuit, finishing in 3min 53.97sec beating the previous record by more than seven seconds . Colbourne has been highly commended by many for his achievement, and he is being widely referred to as a ‘great role model’.

Mark Colbourne ‘Victory’

 In May of 2009, Colbourne was seriously injured when he was involved in a paragliding accident in Swansea. The accident, in which his paragliding wing fell to the ground and folded in front of him from around 40ft, left him with a broken back and lower leg paralysis from severe nerve damage in his spine. This meant he had to undergo five months of arduous physiotherapy in order for him to be able to learn how to walk again. Mark’s passion for sport helped him as he completed hours of rigorous training in 2011, just two years after his injury.

His courage and endurance is remarkable and he’s an inspiring ambassador for sport” Nick Smith Blaenau, Gwent MP.

His success is being welcomed by many, as the London Paralympics 2012 is Colbourne’s first Paralympic Games and he has already become the world champion in his sport. Truly an inspiration alongside the other cyclists who acquired medals for team GB;

In Paralympic cycling, visually impaired riders are paired with a pilot, who steers the tandem. Aileen McGlynn and her pilot Helen Scott, won silver in the women’s individual B 1km time trial. They came after Felicity Johnson and Stephanie Morton of Australian, who won, setting a new Paralympic record of 1min 8.919sec. In the men’s C3 individual pursuit, Shaun McKeown clinched the silver medal coming in second after Joseph Berenyi of the United States and GB’s Darren Kenny came in third in a world record time of 3:35.257.

We wish all athletes the best of luck in the other events the must now prepare for.

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Paralympics day one off to a good start

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Blog

Paralympics day one  off to a good start

So, the Paralympic Games London 2012 begin, and what other way to start them than to bring home a gold medal on day one! The first gold medal of the 14th Paralympic games was won by one of our own; cyclist Sarah Storey. The superb victory was won in the women’s C5 three-kilometre individual pursuit which was took place at the London 2012 velodrome, where Sarah soared to her sweet success.

'Sarah Storey' wins Gold for Team GB

Six laps into the 12 lap race, Storey caught up to her opponent Anna Harkowska from Poland and overtook her, earning an electrifying applause from the elated crowd of near 6,000. The 34-year-old originally from Manchester, held on to her gold in the women’s individual pursuit C5 gold from Beijing, winning her eighth Paralympic title overall and her third title as a cyclist throughout her career which began in 1992. In a commendable fashion, Storey showed humble appreciation to her opponents saying:

“Mentally you’ve got to prepare, anything can happen, I have to respect all my competitors… nothing’s ever easy at this level” We wish Storey the best for the other three events has to prepare for.

In the swimming events, Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand won the gold medal in the women’s 200m IM – SM10 in world record time! Jonathan Fox of Great Britain clinched gold in the Men’s 100m Backstroke – S7 final and in the men’s ­­­ 50m freestyle S5 Daniel Dias of Brazil set a new record! He smashed the current record finishing in 32.05 secs! Stephens and Mullen of GB finished sixth and eighth respectively and Sebastian Rodriguez representing Spain claimed the silver medal. Wonderful races swam by all.

A very tense Basketball match between Germany and Great Britain saw Britain behind Germany in the end with a 72-77 score to Germany, just 5 points separating them. Heart-breaking for team GB who were at a draw with Germany 66-66 before they had to into overtime! Throughout the game spectators were at the edges of their seats even till the very end!  Unfortunately in sitting volleyball and goalball, team GB did were defeated by Russia (Sitting Volleyball) and Lithuania (Goalball).

Team GreatBritain have 7 medals so far; 2 gold, 3 silvers and 2 bronze on the first day of the London 2012 Paralympics, hopes are high and all the teams are on their way, making their countries proud!

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