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Let The Paralympic Games Begin
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 17, 2004

ATHENS, GREECE--More than 4,000 elite athletes with disabilities from 146 countries have gathered in Athens for the 44th anniversary Paralympic Games, otherwise known as the Games of the XII Paralympiad.

The competition began Friday and will continue through Tuesday, September 28.

Five disability categories will be represented: amputee, cerebral palsy, les autres (for athletes with a range of conditions), vision-impaired, and wheelchair.

Athletes with intellectual disabilities were banned from competition in January 2001 after it was revealed that 10 members of Spain's gold-medal winning basketball team did not have any disabilities.

The Paralympians will compete for more than 3,000 medals in swimming, archery, athletics, wheelchair basketball, cycling, equestrian, wheelchair fencing, five-a-side and seven-a-side football, goalball, judo, power-lifting, sailing, shooting, table tennis, wheelchair tennis, volley-ball, wheelchair rugby and boccia.

Incidentally, contrary to popular belief, the name "Paralympics" has nothing to do with paraplegia. The name was coined from "Parallel Olympics" in 1960 when a neurologist working with British World War II vets took 400 wheelchair athletes to compete in Olympic City during the Olympics in Rome.

"Athens 2004 Paralympic Games News (Athens 2004)
"Athens 2004 Paralympic Games news" (EIN News)
"Watch the Paralympics online" (BBC Sport)

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