I would like to start with the words of a perceptive friend, Graham Turpin, which encapsulate the whole of these Games, that have been underrated all these years, and which echo my feelings entirely. He says it in a simple accurate, but piercing way, which really goes to the heart of what is happening here in the UK with the Paralympic Games:
"I have just been watching the blind football at the Paralympics, amazing..... they are all heroes, the lot of them. I heard one this morning saying if he had his time again, he wouldn't change a thing. He is now in a place he didn't think was possible, he was a serving soldier out east. What an attitude!!! And these people have more right than anyone to say, why me? Life isn't fair, etc. etc.
The one thing I fail to understand is that NBC in America is only taking 14 hours, and all pre-recorded of the Paralympics. They really ought to be ashamed of themselves, still, their loss...."
Indeed. I fail to understand it too. :o(
Could it be because NBC knows its audience well and is reflecting their bias? Does it believe that they would not be interested in any human beings who are less than perfect? Who do not match up to the human ideal in physicality? Who are not deemed worthy for any attention, not being as able bodied as the other Olympians? One senses that the American stars are not performing as expected yet because they have not been getting the emotional support of their countrymen. It's as if they have been forgotten, second best behind their able bodied counterparts.
I ask all those questions because the performance of these disabled athletes just take one's breath away. I did not watch the Powerlifting and when the winner, who had no arms, received her medal, I momentarily asked myself how did she lift those weights if she had no arms. I could only think in able bodied terms. Then I thought, silly me, She would have used her feet! Then I saw another armless Paralympian using his toes in the Archery competition and I just stared in disbelief at what they are showing us able bodied in our narrow view of the world in what is possible and it makes one feel extremely humbled. Hence why it is a mystery to me why Americans are not taking more pride in their disabled athletes!
On this second day, 40 Gold medals were decided over six sports. The main action was in the Athletics (Track & Field) and in the Aquatics Centre for the Swimming. Jessica Long added to her first gold medal by bagging another, increasing her Paralympic Games medal tally to 11, as she won gold in the 400m Freestyle - S8 in a new world record time . The Ukranian athlete with the long name, and equally long list of achievements, Natalia Prologaieva also shone in her race. The stars are gradually emerging on this first day as countries jostle for position on the medal tables. The situation is very fluid at this stage, except for China and Australia who are digging in their heels at the top. However, all the countries participating have their special skills so who know what will happen in the next few days over the other sports?
Elsewhere in the action, there was a dramatic display of petulance by Jody Cundy, the British Cycling Champion, who failed to start correctly, because he fell out of the starting grid, and was disqualified. He wanted to be given another chance to start, but was refused and he let rip with swears and recriminations against the officials, telling them "You can't do this! I've worked all my life for this. You're ruining my life!" Then he followed up his display with a two-fingered salute, which is regarded as offensive, and had to be retstrained by the Team GB coach. He must have felt very frustrated, and at first the crowd were on his side, but he couldn't have possibly expected his angry display to earn him any accolades, regardless of his disability - he has an artificial leg.
News Highlights (Courtesy London 2012.com)
* Jason Smyth, of Ireland, re-enforced his position as the fastest Paralympian in the world as he set a world record of 10.54 in the 100m - T13 to storm into the final. The 25-year-old reigning champion, who trains with USA sprint star Tyson Gay in Florida, has run even quicker in non-disabled competition. He said he would be 'extremely disappointed' if he doesn't run faster in the final.
* There was home glory for Britain's Hannah Cockroft, who was roared on to victory, by an 80,000 crowd, in the the women's 100m - T34 , while Serbia's Zeljko Dimitrijevic set a new F31/32/51 world record of 26.88m to win gold in the Club Throw.
* On the Shooting range, Olivera Nakovska-Bikova became FYR Macedonia's first-ever Paralympic Games champion with victory in the P2-10m Air Pistol-SH1. She would be feeling very proud of her achievement.
* Chinese crews set world best times in the AS men's Single Sculls and in the Mixed Double Sculls on a record-breaking opening day of the Rowing regatta. Huang Cheng, who only began competing internationally this year, took advantage of the strong tail-wind at Eton Dorney to take nearly five seconds out of Tom Aggar's previous world best time.
* Germany defeated the USA, the reigning Paralympic women's Wheelchair Basketball champions, 54-48 in a rematch of the 2008 final to make a successful start to their campaign
40 Gold medals were awarded in the following 6 sports:
Athletics (Track & Field) (11)
Zelijko DIMITRIJEVIC, Serbia; Margarita GONCHAROVA, Russian Federation; WU Qing, China; Jackie CHRISTIANSEN, Denmark; Roman KAPRANOV, Russian Federation; Hannah COCKROFT, Great Britain; Alexey ASHAPATOV, Russian federation; Aigars APINIS, Latvia; Markus REHM, Germany; Najat EL GARRAA, Morroco; LIU Ping, China
Cycling (Track) (5)
Felicity JOHNSON, Australia; Mark Lee COLBOURNE, Great Britain; LIANG Guihia, China; Joseph BERENYI, USA; Alfonso CABELLO, Spain
Dmytro SOLOVEY, Ukraine; Olexandr KOSINOV, Ukraine; Afag SOLTANOVA, Azeirbaijan; Dalidaivis RODRIGUEZ CLARK, Cuba
Ivory NWOKORIE, Nigeria; FENG Qi, China; Sherif OTHMAN, Egypt
DONG Chao, China; Olivera NAKOVSKA-BIKOVA, Moldova
WANG Yinan, China; Jessica LONG, USA; PAN Shiyun, China; Jacqueline FRENEY, Australia; Andre BRASIL, Brazil; Summer Ashley MORTIMER, Canada; Matthew COWDRAY, Australia; Ellie COLE, Australia; Bradley SNYDER, USA; Cecilia CAMELLINI, Italy; Marc EVERS, Netherlands; Bethany FIRTH, Ireland; Ihar BOKI, Belarus; Nataliia PROLOGAIEVA, Ukraine; Eskender MUSTAFAIEV, Ukraine
2012 PARALYMPIC GAMES MEDAL LEADERS (Day 2)
(44 countries - 27% of all teams competing - have shared the 60 Gold medals so far)
1. China 34 Total (13Gold, 10Silver, 11Bronze)
2. Australia 19 (7Gold, 4Silver, 8Bronze)
3. Ukraine 16 (6Gold, 5Silver, 5Bronze)
4. Great Britain 21 (5Gold, 11Silver, 5Bronze)
5. Russian Federation 11 (5Gold, 3Silver 3Bronze)
USA has moved up to 6th position with 11 medals in all (4Golds, 1Silver, 6Bronze)
DAY 3 ACTIVITY (16 sporting events)
Athletics (Gold Medal Event)
Cycling (Track) (Gold Medal)
Equestrian (Gold Medal)
Judo (Gold Medal)
Powerlifting (Gold Medal)
Shooting (Gold Medal)
Swimming (Gold Medal)
Stars who could shine on Day 3
* Netherlands Wheelchair Tennis ace, Esther Vergeer, looks to extend her streak as one of the most dominant sporting figures in history. The remarkable Dutch athlete, 31, arrived at London 2012 on the back of an amazing 465-match winning streak. In all of the known history of sport, she is second only to Pakistan's squash king Jahangir Khan, who won 555 consecutive matches in a five-year span from 1981 to 1986.
* At Weymouth and Portland, Canada's Paul Tingley will be keen to maintain his proud record in the Sailing events. He won gold at Beijing 2008 in the Single-Person Keelboat (2.4mR) class and will be expected to mount a strong challenge to defend his title.
* He is likely to face stiff competition from France's Damien Seguin, who enters the Games ranked as the number one in the world in the class.
* Elsewhere, it will be another action-packed day at the Olympic Stadium in Athletics, where Ireland's Jason Smyth will be aiming to defend his title as the 'fastest Paralympian in the world' in the men's 100m - T13 final, and Oscar Pistorius launches his 200m - T44 campaign.
London2012.com (For round up and great pictures)
Paralympic.org (for live stream videos, athletes bios, results and all the relevant information)