London countdown: Four do-overs
While the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games were a successful for many athletes, four want more for London than Beijing.
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games produced several magical moments for the U.S. Paralympic Team, including a rare win in the women’s goalball finale, a pair of medals in the inaugural rowing competition and American, Paralympic and world records all-around. But four athletes and teams left China with unfulfilled expectations.
With four days left until the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, meet four athletes and teams who are hoping to better their Beijing results in London:
April Holmes (Somerdale, N.J.), the grand dame of women’s sprinters, was poised to win two gold medals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games but came up short in the 200 meters (T44). Within yards of the finish line, she fell. The racer in the next lane accidently stepped on Holmes’ face with her spiked racing prosthesis. Her cheek was gashed and her eye was barely missed. Holmes rebounded with a gold medal performance in the 100m. A world record holder in both the 100m and 200m, she hopes to win double gold in London.
In 2008, Myles Porter of Fremont, Ohio, finished fifth in the Paralympic Games, leaving Beijing without one of the four medals awarded in men’s judo 100 kg. (All combat sports award two bronze medals in each division contested at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.) Now he wants to win his first medal, preferably gold. Porter took bronze at the 2012 World Cup Miami in the able-bodied division and bronze in the 2012 U.S. Open, also in the able bodied division. Porter took gold at both the 2011 German Open for the Visually Impaired and the 2011 Parapan American Games. At the Parapan American Games, Porter topped current Paralympic champion, the four-time gold medalist, Antônio Tenório da Silva of Brazil.
Men’s Wheelchair Basketball
The 2012 U.S. Paralympic Men’s Wheelchair Basketball hopes to bring Team USA back to the podium for the first time since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. In Beijing, a podium performance was probable but a mostly inexperienced United States team lost 85-77 in the bronze medal game to Great Britain, making it only the third time Team USA has landed off the podium. The team did not medal in 1992 or 2004.
Women’s Sitting Volleyball
The U.S. Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team is aiming for its first gold medal at the Paralympic Games. In the gold medal match of the 2008 Games and the 2010 World Organization for Volleyball Disabled World Championships, the United States fell to China. In July, the U.S. and China teams faced off in exhibition play in Shanghai with China winning all three days. In its first match, Team USA fell to China in five sets (25-18, 25-17, 25-27, 21-25, 15-13). Day 2 saw the Americans downed 25-16, 25-20, 27-25. China claimed the final victory 25-12, 26-24, 25-22.