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Paralympians prep to step into spotlight(视频)

[ 2012-08-28 10:53]     字号 [] [] []  
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Athletes from around the world are gathering in London again this week but this time they are Paralympians.

The 4,200 disabled athletes represent 160 countries, making the event the biggest Paralympic Games ever.

It is the same facility used by some of Britain's Olympic athletes. but these competitors are visually impaired or have other physical or mental disabilities. They have to work that much harder to excel at their sports.

Finding a sport and having the potential to be a champion are particularly important for these athletes. Among them is 21-year-old Georgina Callingham, one of the youngest British Paralympians, who has cerebral palsy.

"Shooting has literally meant everything in my life the last year and a half," she says. "My friends have taken a back step. My social life has taken a back step. Literally, with me, I'm 100 percent focused on my match, and I will be throughout the match and throughout the time."

Outside, the men of Britain's Paralympic football team are practicing. One team member Martin Sinclair is in the unusual position of having a brother who played on Britain's Olympic football team.

"It's a dream come true," says Martin Sinclair. "I didn't think I'd be here, to be honest. You see over there, they're quite talented guys over there and it's a privilege to be with them. It's quite historic, you don't expect two brothers to be in the Olympics and the Paralympics."

Another competitor who never thought she'd be in this position is 64-year-old archer Kate Murray, the eldest member of the British team who became disabled by a spinal condition 13 years ago.

"It meant everything to me," says Murray, "Now, archery is all to me. It keeps me going, keeps me younger than 64."

The Paralympic Games are about winning medals, but they also have a broader importance. Officials say they demonstrate what the disabled people can accomplish with a little support, and they hope the games will help expand opportunities for disabled people around the world.

Training expert Penny Briscoe gave up a career in the Olympic movement to help raise the quality of the British Paralympic team. She says it has been inspirational.

"As much as I've given, I've probably got 10-fold back in terms of the experiences that I've had," Briscoe says. "And it didn't take long, actually, to understand that I was involved in a pretty special project, if I can call it that."

Briscoe hopes the quality and character of these athletes will help change perceptions of what disabled people can do.


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(来源:VOA 编辑:Julie)