Paralympics: Bigger than sport
The GIST: Nine days and 78 events later, the 2022 Winter Paralympics finished with yesterday’s Closing Ceremony, but the images of strength and resilience on display in Beijing will last well beyond the Games.
🇺🇸 Team USA: The red, white and blue finished fourth in the medal table with 20…and Oksana Masters accounted for nearly half of them, making the podium in all seven (!!!) of her events. She’s the first American to win seven medals at a single Winter Paralympics and she’s now the most decorated U.S. Winter Paralympian ever, with 14. Incredible.
- Other Team USA highlights include a fourth consecutive gold in men's sledge ice hockey and Brenna Huckaby defending her gold in women’s banked slalom snowboarding. Somebody call Harry Styles.
🇺🇦 Zooming out: It’s impossible to separate this global Paralympic competition from the global conflict taking place alongside it. The Games began just days after Russia began its unprovoked war on Ukraine, leading the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing.
- Ukrainian athletes rallied on the world stage, finishing second with 29 medals — the most the nation has ever won at a Winter Paralympics.
- As IPC president Andrew Parsons said in his closing remarks, “Differences here did not divide us…through this unity we have hope. Hopes for inclusion, hopes for harmony and, importantly, hopes for peace.”