There's still time to enjoy some of the most amazing feats of athletic achievement on TV -- The London Paralympics 2012! As a winner of three Paralympic medals myself, I know firsthand the dedication to training and perseverance required to compete at this level of sport. I'm so proud of the men and women representing Team USA, I want everyone to cheer them on. So, to make it easy for you to follow our extraordinary U.S. athletes, I have pulled together below some of the highlights from the U.S. Paralympics updates I get by email. Also, I've included links for you to see some of the action on You Tube.
Don't miss this: NBC-Sports Network will air a highlights show on Sept. 11 at 7:00 p.m. EDT that will include intense competition in wheelchair basketball, cycling, swimming, track and more. Mark your calendar, set your DVR and fasten your seat belt. This is one heck of a ride!
Go Team USA!
The following excerpts are adapted from US Paralympics London 2012 email updates -
The U.S. trunk and arms mixed double sculls crew of Marine Corps veteran Rob Jones (Lovettsville, Va.) and Oksana Masters (Louisville, Ky.) won bronze at the competition in Eton Dorney, outside London. It is the first Paralympic medal in the trunk and arms mixed double sculls event for Team USA.
This is a great story you'll want to learn more about - Jones is a U.S. Marine Sergeant who became a bilateral above knee amputee in July of 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. Masters, also a bilateral above-knee amputee, was adopted from the Ukraine at the age of seven.
Six-time U.S. Paralympian Allison Jones of Colorado Springs, Colorado, won gold in the women's cycling Individual C1-3 Time Trial. The win made Jones, who is also a Paralympic alpine skier, only the second female athlete in U.S. Paralympic history to win a gold medal in both a Summer and Winter Games. Megan Fisher, of Mizzoula, Montana, won gold in the Individual C4 Time Trial, and and my good friend Muffy Davis (Salt Lake City, Utah) won gold in the Individual H1-2 Time Trial. Women won five of the seven cycling medals earned on day seven of Paralympic competition.
In men's action, Joe Berenyi set a new world record on his way to winning the gold medal in the men's individual C3 Pursuit at the velodrome. After a hiccup at the starting line due to a mechanical issue, Berenyi (Aurora, Ill.) was issued a restart and proved his mental toughness by finishing atop the podium with a time of 3:36.148. He set the world record earlier in the day during his qualification round.
Check out highlights from his exciting gold medal race here.
Dartanyon Crockett (Cleveland, Ohio), competing in the men's -90kg, won the first medal of the London 2012 Paralympic Games for the USA Judo Team, taking bronze. Later in the same day, Myles Porter (Fremont, Ohio) won silver, narrowly missed the podium's top spot, the men's 100kg gold medal fight to Korean Gwang-Geun Choi.
View Crockett's reaction here.
Team USA women advanced to the finals after winning three straight sets, defeating the Ukraine at the Excel Center on Wednesday. They are 3-0 with wins earlier in the week over Brazil and Slovenia and will take on China for the gold medal. Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) and Heather Erickson led the team in scoring with 13, and 15 points respectively.
Nick Taylor (Wichita, Kansas) and doubles partner David Wagner (Hillsboro, Ore.) pulled off a record-setting performance when the duo won their third consecutive gold medal in the men's quad division. They defeated Great Britain's Peter Norfolk and Andy Laphorne in a thrilling three set victory: 6-2, 5-6, 6-2, on Wednesday afternoon. It will be USA vs. USA vying for gold when they play each other in the quad men's singles.
Track & Field:
Two-time U.S. Paralympian Scot Severn (Unionville, Mich.), a U.S. Army veteran, won a bronze medal in the men's shot put (F52/53) on Aug. 31. He threw 8.26 meters for a score of 884, edging out the fourth place finisher Ales Kisy of the Czech Republic by six points and .03 meters.
View highlights here.
The second day of action at Olympic Stadium began with American sprinter Shaquille Vance (Houston, Miss.) capturing silver in the men's T42 200-meter final in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
View Shaquille Vance highlights here.
Team USA picked up more hardware with two bronze medals, won by Kerry Morgan (St. Louis, Mo.) in the women's 200m final (T52) and Angela Madsen (Long Beach, Calif.) in the women's shot put (F54/55/56).
View Kerry Morgan & Angela Madsen highlights here.
The U.S. swim team added five more medals on Day 7, highlighted by a gold medal performance in the 400m freestyle S10 by Ian Silverman (Baltimore, Md.). Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, N.C.) also medaled for Team USA by coming in second in the100m backstroke S12.
Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) turned in another gold medal performance in the 200m IM S8. On Day 8, she broke her own record in the 100m freestyle S8 while earning her fifth gold medal from these games. Jessica is tied with Australian swimmer Jacqueline Freney for the most medals earned by an individual athlete during the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Navy Lt. Brad Synder (St. Petersburg, Fla.) who lost his vision just one year ago while deployed in Afghanistan, landed himself on the podium again after finishing second in the 50m freestyle (S11) with a personal best time of 25.93.
Victoria Arlen (Exeter, N.H.) won her first medal of the Games, a silver in the 400m freestyle (S6).
See highlights from Victoria Arlen's race here.
Rudy Garcia-Tolson claimed the silver medal in the men's 200m IM, finishing with a personal best 2:33.94. Though his time was an American record and nearly two seconds faster than the morning session where he set the world record, Garcia-Tolson finished behind Yevheniy Bohodayko of the Ukraine, who won the gold by breaking the world record with a time of 2:33.13.
"The Ukrainian had a great race, I wasn't expecting him to come up and do as well as he did, but hats off to him," said Garcia-Tolson after the race. He considers the 200m IM his main event, and he already has goals for the race in the future. "It's just an amazing experience and it lit a fire under me to train harder now -- I want to get that back."
Videos from members of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team are available on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usparalympics and we encourage you to share it on your organization websites and Facebook pages or link to it through electronic newsletters or other channels. You can pick and choose what videos to share with your audience. It's as easy as clicking "Share" on the video and then following the instructions to embed it on a website, post it on Facebook, etc.
What better way to motivate your team at work and your family at home? Something about seeing people with no feet run or playing tennis in wheelchairs just makes any normal excuse sound feeble.
Let me know if you are enjoying the 2012 Paralympics!
Bonnie St. John