Wednesday, 29 August 2012


The Paralympic symbol

Excitement is building again in London with only a few hours to go before the Paralympics Opening Ceremony.  It starts at 8.30 pm British time - that's 9.30 pm in Italy - and you will be able to see it on Rai Sport 1 in Italy.

Here are ten facts which you may not know about the Paralympics and the 2012 Paralympics in London in particular:

1.  The word "Paralympics" means that the Games run parallel to the Olympics.

2.  The Olympic Rings are not used as a symbol for the Paralympics.  These Games use three "agitos" [from the verb "to move" in Latin]. They are coloured red, blue and green because these are the colours most often used in the world's national flags.  The motto of the Paralympics is "Spirit in Motion".

3.  For the 2012 Paralympic Games, the four national flames of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been combined to form one flame which is being carried from Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire to the Olympic Stadium in London in a torch relay.  Stoke Mandeville Hospital is famous for its pioneering rehabilitation work with people who have suffered spinal injuries.

4.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge [Prince William and his wife, Kate] will attend the Opening Ceremony.

5.  The organisers in London expect these to be the first Paralympic Games where all the seats for spectators will have been sold.

6.  4,000 athletes and 150 nations are taking part.

7.  There are 21 different events in the Games.

8.  There is a classification system in place to ensure fairness.  Athletes who have a similar range of movement compete in each event.

9.  The sports of goalball and boccia are exclusive to the Paralympics.

10. The organisers also hope that the 2012 Paralympics in London will help change attitudes towards disability all over the world.

You can find out more on the Guardian Events Guide,  the London 2012 site, and, of course, by watching the Games!

Good luck to all the athletes!

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