USA Places Fourth at Paralympics

(From left to right) The “Mc-trio,” Amanda McGrory, Tatyana McFadden and Chelsea McClammer, won multiple medals for the women’s 1500-meter T54. These athletes train and compete alongside one another (Photo from

JoAnn Ahn, News Editor

At the end of September, the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games winded down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over 160 countries participated in 528 medal events for 23 different sports- all competed by athletes with a large range of disabilities. Some disabilities include impaired muscle power, vision, range of movement and intellect, as well as limb deficiency, short stature and leg length difference.  Despite this major difference from the Olympic Games, these players train and play just as diligently as their Olympic counterparts. In a few cases, they also beat their counterparts in the same events, seen this year with four visually impaired runners that ran the 1500m race faster than any runner at the Olympics.

The Paralympics, governed by the International Paralympic Committee, consists of both Winter and Summer Games which began to immediately follow the Olympics since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea. There is no doubt that these games are not as recognized as the Olympics. For broadcasting this summer, NBC dedicated 6,755 hours to the Olympics, while the coverage for the Paralympics was a meager 66 hours. Although these games do not receive the same amount of attention as the Olympics, they are clearly worth the world’s recognition.

At this year’s games, Team USA consisted of 267 athletes that competed in 20 sports. At the end, America came out in fourth place with 115 medals, including 40 gold, 44 silver, and 31 bronze. Many U.S. athletes qualified for major events such as cycling, equestrian, goalball (only played at the Paralympics), swimming, sailing and rowing which dramatically contributed to USA’s overall medal count.

In 2020, the 16th Paralympic Games will take place in Tokyo, Japan following the Olympic Games. Competitors from all around the world will return to the stadiums to compete and to make the Summer Paralympics a more memorable and astounding aspect of the athletic world.