Elizabeth Marks will be among the many US athletes looking to score gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic when they kick off Sept. 7 with a spectacular opening ceremony. But what do you know about the sports extravaganza? Let HollywoodLife.com tell you all!
We’ll be cheering on the US, as our top athletes overcome disability to compete at the highest level in Brazil. There’s bound to be stories that’ll tug on the heartstrings and have us reaching for a box of tissues, but there’s much more to the Paralympics than that. Here’s some fun facts you can impress your friends with when it’s showtime
1. When was the first Paralympics and where was it held?
Incredibly, the first Paralympics dates back to 1960 and it took place in Rome, Italy. 400 athletes from 23 different countries competed, but only wheelchair users could take part. It wasn’t until 1976 that athletes with different disabilities could take part.
2. Who is the most decorated Paralympian of all-time?
That honor goes to Trischa Zorn of the United States. She competed in blind swimming events from 1980 to 2004, where she won a staggering 55 medals. 41 of those were gold. Eat your heart out, Michael Phelps!
3. Paralympic stars have crossed over and competed at the Olympics too.
That’s right. At the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, Neroli Fairhall of New Zealand was the first, and also the first paraplegic athlete, to compete at the Summer Games in archery. Other notable athletes include, Sonia Vettenburg, Marla Runyan, Pal Szekeres and Oscar Pistorius in the list of 13 that have competed in both Paralympics and Olympics.
4. Rio 2016 Paralympics will be the biggest ever!
More athletes, more team officials and more countries will be represented at Rio 2016 Olympics — it’s the biggest turnout of all-time. Around 4,300 athletes, from over 160 countries with 3,000 officials have traveled to Brazil for this one.
5. Will world records be broken in Rio?
You bet your life they will! There are always amazing moments to cherish, and who can forget the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China when 279 were broken? There will be loads more, don’t worry about that!
HollywoodLifers, are you looking forward to the Rio 2016 Paralympics? How well will our US athletes do? Tell us below what you’re expecting!