Today is Day 7 of the 2010 Paralympic Games. You probably didn't know that because the world media largely disappeared from Vancouver once the Olympics were over. Even the protestors are gone since they know they won't get any publicity. The athletes are still here though. Still competing even though none of them will come away with giant sponsorship deals or celebrity endorsements. Still competing even though they know that almost no one will be watching them compete because there is little to no television coverage for their events. Still here being amazing.
This is Haitau Du of China competing in the 20 km cross-country event. Just for kicks, try running without using your arms as a counter balance and see how that feels. Then put on some cross-country skis.
The guy with the funny pictures on his goggles is Bart Bunting of Australia who is blind. The man in front of him is his guide and tells him when he needs to turn left or right or when he needs to sprint or when to prepare to go up or down hill.
This is American Alana Nicols who won the gold medal in giant slalom. Those skiers can do over 120 km/h (75 mph) and they're basically sitting in a chair. Next time you're in your car on the highway, try to imagine yourself at that speed, going downhill strapped to a chair with a ski on it. That takes a mighty pair, friends, and I'm not talking legs.
Sledge hockey. You think regular hockey is a rough game?
Finally, men's giant slalom winners Gerd Schonfelder of Germany (silver), Adam Hall of New Zealand (Gold) and Cameron Rahles-Rahbula of Australia (Bronze).
I hope that the International Olympic Committee will one day decide to meld the Olympics and Paralympics into one, because these people are awesome and they deserve the recognition.
*All photos are from Boston.com's The Big Picture which is an amazing site. If you're interested there are many more pictures of the games there.