2008 Summer Paralympics
"Sky, Earth, and Human Beings",
emblem of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
|Host city||Beijing, China|
(One World, One Dream)
|Events||472 in 20 sports|
|Opening ceremony||September 6|
|Closing ceremony||September 17|
|Officially opened by||President Hu Jintao|
|Paralympic torch||Hou Bin|
|Paralympic stadium||Beijing National Stadium|
The 2008 Summer Paralympic Games (Chinese: 第十三屆残疾人奥林匹克运动会), the thirteenth Paralympics, took place in Beijing, China from September 6 to 17, 2008. As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, equestrian events were held in Hong Kong and sailing events in Qingdao.
3,951 athletes from 146 countries took part. This was the largest ever number of nations at the Paralympics (ten more than in Athens), and five countries competed for the first time. China fielded more athletes than any other country. The slogan for the 2008 Paralympics was the same as the 2008 Summer Olympics, "One World, One Dream" (simplified Chinese: 同一个世界 同一个梦想; traditional Chinese: 同一個世界 同一個夢想 Pinyin Tóng yīge shìjìe tóng yīge mèngxiǎng, lit. "One World, One Dream"). China dominated the medal count finishing with 89 gold medals and 211 total medals, more than double the next-ranked NPC in both cases.
339 Paralympic records and 279 world records were broken.
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- Beijing National Stadium (Birds Nest)
- Beijing National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
- Beijing National Indoor Stadium (Fan)
- Fencing Gymnasium of Olympic Green Convention Centre
- Olympic Green Archery Field
- Olympic Green Hockey Field
- Olympic Green Tennis Centre (Flowers)
- Peking University Gymnasium
- Beihang University Gymnasium
- China Agricultural University Gymnasium
- Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium
- Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
- Beijing Shooting Range Hall
- Laoshan Mountain Bike Course
- Workers Gymnasium
- Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park
- Triathlon Venue
- Hong Kong Equestrian Venues
- Qingdao International Sailing Centre
The emblem, "Sky, Earth, and Human Beings" (Chinese: 天、地、人), was a multicolored Chinese character "之" (Chinese: zhī) stylized as an athletic figure in motion. The red, blue, and green in the emblem represent sun, sky, and earth.
The slogan was the same as the 2008 Summer Olympics, "One World, One Dream".
The torch relay of the 2008 Summer Paralympics started from Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) on August 28. The flame then gathered before The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) and followed two routes (the "Route of Ancient China" and the "Route of Modern China"). Both routes returned to Beijing on September 5, and the torch was flamed at the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on September 6.
The opening ceremony took place on September 6, 2008. The pre-ceremony performance was a succession of various musical performances, ranging from military music to folk music and a performance of Ode to Joy. Following a countdown, a fireworks display signalled the beginning of the ceremony proper. The national flag of China was then raised, in accordance with usual protocol, and the national anthem of China performed. Performers wearing suits in bright colours paraded round the stadium, as a welcoming ceremony preceding the athletes' entry. As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, the ceremony included a parade of nations, with a flag bearer for each national team. Contrary to Olympic tradition, the national team of Greece did not enter first, as the Paralympic Games traces its roots to Stoke Mandeville rather than Olympia; the host country, as is customary in both Olympic and Paralympic Games, came last. As Chinese is written in characters and not letters, the order of the teams' entry was determined by the number of strokes in the first character of their respective countries' Simplified Chinese names. Countries with the same number of strokes in the first character are sorted by those of the next character. This made Guinea (几内亚) the first country to enter as it takes two strokes to write the first character in the country's name (几). Following the athletes' parade, a performance took place, divided into chapters and sub-chapters entitled the "Journey of Space" and "Journey of Life" The sunbird performance entailed Yang Haitao (杨海涛), a singer with a visual impairment, singing about dreams while an acrobat in sunbird costume descended in simulated flight from the air and "awakened the blind singer from his sleep". The ceremony concludes with Hou Bin, the high jump gold medalist with one leg lighting the flame cauldron.
Twenty sports were on the program:
Rowing made its first appearance in the Paralympics at these games.
|●||Opening ceremony||Event competitions||●||Event finals||●||Closing ceremony|
|Football (soccer) 5-a-side|
|Football (soccer) 7-a-side|
The following National Paralympic Committees sent delegations to compete. Macau and the Faroe Islands are members of the International Paralympic Committee, but not of the International Olympic Committee; hence they participate in the Paralympic Games but not in the Olympics.
Botswana was due to take part, but its single athlete, defending Paralympic champion sprinter Tshotlego Morama, withdrew prior to the Games due to injury. The country's last-minute attempt to field other athletes in her place was rejected, as they did not meet the requirement of having participated in international events.
The top ten ranked NPCs at these Games are listed below. (Host nation is highlighted.)
- Australia - Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)'s ABC Television provided coverage on ABC Australian National Television's ABN-2.
- Brazil - SporTV2 and Terra Networks.
- Canada - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in English and Société Radio Canada (SRC) in French.
- China - Chinese Central Television (CCTV) provided coverage on CCTV-1 (opening and closing ceremony), CCTV-5 and CCTV-7 as all direct live telecast transmission.
- France - Eurosport
- Japan - NHK's NHK General TV provided coverage on JOAK-1
- Azerbaijan - AZTV
- Norway - NRK
- Sweden - Sveriges Television
- Turkey - TRT
- United States - Universal Sports, an online subsidiary of NBC Universal, provided live streaming of selected Paralympic Games events (free registration required).
- United Kingdom - BBC provided extensive coverage on BBC Television's BBC One.
In France, following the Games, Philippe Juvin, national secretary of the governing Union for a Popular Movement, accused national public television network France Télévisions of having practiced "segregation" by providing live coverage of the Beijing Olympics but only ten-minute daily summaries of events, outside prime time, for the Beijing Paralympics. France Télévisions replied that it would take Juvin to court for slander.
While the Games were not broadcast live in the United States, NBC broadcast a documentary featuring highlights and athlete profiles on November 9, 2008, followed by a week-long series of coverage shown by Universal Sports beginning the day after.
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