Seth Udinski, FISM News
The Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games began on Tuesday. Like the Summer Olympics, the Paralympics, highlighting athletes with physical disabilities all over the world, were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns but are now underway a year later. Also like the Summer Olympics, the Paralympics are taking place amidst a considerable amount of complaints from many in the international community who feel the pandemic is still too dangerous to justify holding such a large-scale event.
The opening ceremonies took place at 8pm local time (7am ET) , highlighted by an inspiring appearance from members of the Afghan refugee team. The team, 6 athletes strong, is representing their country as it suffers under the recent establishment of the Taliban rule.
A Paralympic volunteer carried Afghanistan's flag into today's opening ceremony for the Tokyo Paralympics — a show of respect for the Afghan athletes unable to attend the Games amid the Taliban takeover.
— Axios (@axios) August 24, 2021
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said,
(These athletes) represent the more than 82 million people around the world who have been forced to flee war, persecution and human rights abuses — 12 million of whom live with a disability
4,400 athletes from 160 countries have arrived at the city to compete in 22 different sports. Team USA will be represented by 242 athletes at the games. Chuck Aoki, a three-time Paralympian rugby player, and Melissa Stockwell, a paratriathlete who won bronze in the Rio games, represented the US as the flag bearers at the opening ceremonies. Competition will take place over the next 12 days with the closing ceremonies scheduled for September 5.