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Paralympics-Utah gets ready for second Winter Games

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    Paralympics-Utah gets ready for second Winter Games

    Paralympics-Utah gets ready for second Winter Games

    By James Nelson

    SALT LAKE CITY, (Reuters) - Spectators are not standing in long lines for tickets, traffic should be normal and security will not be at the high level it was during the Winter Games.

    But that does not mean there will be any less spirit when the Salt Lake Paralympic Games kick off on Thursday.

    "I'd like the people to see the athlete beyond the disability," said Herve Lord, Canadian sledge hockey player. "That's what we want to prove, even though we have physical disability we're still athletes like everyone else," he added.

    The Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City will be the first held in North America, with 500 athletes representing 36 countries competing in 100 medal events in four sports; sledge hockey, biathlon, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing.

    The Opening Ceremony, featuring Motown soul legend Stevie Wonder, will be held on Thursday and events begin Friday morning, running until March 16.

    Lord, 44, lost his right leg in an automobile accident in 1983. After spending nearly a year in the hospital he had some tough choices to make.

    "I told myself I got to make a choice here...I chose to move forward." Lord said.

    "The Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games provides the opportunity to see a powerful celebration of sport which awakens the mind, frees the body and inspires the spirit," said Mitt Romney, president and chief executive officer of the Salt Lake Organising Committee for the Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 (SLOC).


    According to SLOC the athletes represent four primary disability groups; visually impaired, wheelchair users, people with cerebral palsy and amputees.

    Athletes are classified according to their disability and functional ability. The classification differs in each sport and has several levels.

    The complicated process is designed to ensure equality among competitors.

    The Paralympic movement started as a dream by English neurosurgeon Sir Ludwig Guttman.

    Guttman arranged competition following World War II among paralysed members of the British armed services.

    Sweden hosted the first Paralympic Games in 1976.

    "You will see a lot of similarities in the venues and the competitions and the ability of our athletes and the skill of our athletes.

    "But you will probably see a more family-oriented event. I think our athletes are more approachable," said Xavier Gonzalez, managing director of the Paralympics.

    The Paralympic Games in Salt Lake involves ground-breaking television coverage.

    Viewers will be treated to highlights of competition on the A&E cable network. Coverage will include daily competition and feature stories on the athletes.

    "This is a good stage for us," said Thomas Godints, coach of the Canadian men's sledge hockey team.

    According to the SLOC, the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Summer Games had a worldwide audience of 300 million.

    "These guys on the Paralympics are unbelievable, some of them are just as athletic as a lot of other people I've known, just as competitive, just as intense," said Blaine Lindgren, former Olympian track star and silver medallist from the 1964 Olympic Games.

    Lindgren, a native of Utah, is working as a volunteer during the Paralympic Games.

    "I hope people take time to buy a ticket, come see them, support them, I think it's important." Lindgren said.

    20:44 03-05-02

    Thanks for all this information, anyone know when they will be broadcasting though. I have not been able to find the times posted and I keep trying the station, but have not seen anything yet?




      Check out the sports & travel forum. BTW, the games are being aired on A&E (Arts and Entertainment) at 6:00pm EST.

      Seneca, Why did you repost this here?


        Not sure Chris, I posted both almost simultaneously 5 days and probably a hundred articles ago lol. I may have thought it would reach a wider audience if posted in both forums.

        Chatter, KLD posted dates and times in a thread under the same title in the Sports & Travel forum.