This week’s featured article
The 2016 Paralympic Games wrapped up Sunday with a festive closing ceremony as Rio de Janeiro handed over the Paralympic flag to Tokyo, host of the 2020 Games.
During the ceremony in Maracana Stadium, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike received the Paralympic flag from International Paralympic Committee Chairman Philip Craven and waved it slowly.
Athletes, officials and spectators reveled in Brazilian music and dance performances that wrapped up the 12-day summer sports competition in which 4,333 competitors from 159 countries and territories, as well as a refugee team, took part.
This Paralympics drew a record number of participants even though powerhouse Russia was excluded; the IPC had imposed a blanket ban on athletes from the country over systematic doping cover-ups. More than 200 world records were set, indicating a marked heightening of competitiveness among Paralympians.
Japanese athletes captured 24 medals — 10 silver and 14 bronze, but no gold. Japan’s medal haul increased by eight from the 2012 London Games, but it was the first time that Japan failed to win a gold medal since it first joined the Paralympics at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
The lack of gold poses a significant challenge for Japan four years before it hosts the 2020 Games. Brazil bagged 72 medals this time, including 14 golds. Japan Paralympic Committee Chairman Mitsunori Torihara said measures need to be worked out to ensure better results in 2020.
The 2020 Paralympic Games are scheduled to take place in Tokyo between Aug. 25 and Sept. 6. The Japanese capital will be the first site to host the Paralympics for a second time.
At the closing ceremony in Rio, Tokyo promoted the 2020 Games with a video and a performance by dancers with prosthetic legs, highlighting the possibilities open to people with disabilities.
Images of human letters were displayed to express Japan’s gratitude to the rest of the world for assistance with reconstruction after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated parts of the Tohoku area. The video looked back at the 1964 Tokyo Games and communicated changes in social attitudes brought about by the Paralympics.
First published in The Japan Times on Sept. 20.
One-minute chat about sports.
Collect words related to Brazil, e.g., rainforest, Carnival, samba.
1) revel: to take great pleasure; e.g., “I revel in the colors and sounds of Carnival.”
2) refugee: a person forced to leave their country to escape war, danger or another problem; e.g. “He visited a refugee camp.”
3) impose: to apply something that must be obeyed; e.g. “They imposed a fine for smoking in the building.”
4) prosthetic: artificial substitute; e.g. “He has a prosthetic arm.”
Guess the headline
P_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ flag passes to Tokyo as R_ _ 2016 Games wrap up
1) How many athletes took part in the Paralympics in Brazil?
2) How many cities have hosted the Paralympics twice?
3) How was Tokyo 2020 promoted during the closing ceremony?
Let’s discuss the article
1) Did you watch the Paralympics? What was your highlight?
2) What did you think of the two Rio 2016 sports festivals?
3) Do you have ideas about how to boost the success of the Tokyo Paralympics?
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