Don’t tell Brandi Winkler the Olympics are over. For her and her husband, the Olympics are just getting started.
Grovetown’s Scott Winkler will be one of 35 men and 19 women representing the United States at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9. Heading into the games, he is the top U.S. shot putter and is currently among the top three in the world.
The 2012 Olympics came to an official end Aug. 12 with the closing ceremonies. Some of the media reaction to it did not sit well with Brandi Winkler.
“They were asking people what they’re going to do now that the Olympics is over,” she said. “With all the crowd being gone and blah, blah, blah. What about the Paralympics? It kind of infuriates me.”
The paralympians will live in the same Olympic village and compete at the same venues. These athletes work just as hard at their sports as the “real” Olympians do. While some Olympians have had tragic circumstances to overcome in their quest for glory, I think it’s fair to say that the paralympians have to do that on a daily basis.
Maybe there should be some clarification. The Special Olympics are incredible, but that isn’t what this is. As explained to me by the Winklers, Special Olympians have cognitive disabilities while Paralympians have a physical disability of some sort.
The Winklers cheered hard for the USA during the Olympics, but they also rooted for South Africa’s Oscar Pistorious. A double below-the-knee amputee, Pistorious finished eighth in the 400 semifinal and was on the South African 4x400-meter relay team that finished eighth in the finals.
“It was great to see him run,” Scott Winkler said. “He’s showing that we can equal up to an able body, too, even though we’re different.”
NBC took a lot of heat for not televising many Olympic events live. Let’s see if they take some heat for not televising any of the Paralympics events live. They can provide all kinds of coverage of a royal wedding and the Olympics, but can’t be bothered to give us a little live action on their cable NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)?
To be fair, NBC Universal and the International Paralympic Committee are partnering with U.S. Paralympics to produce 10 daily video highlight packages for YouTube.com/USParalympics. NBCSN also will air one-hour highlight shows on Sept. 4-6 and Sept. 11.
Paralympic.org promises to have 1,000 hours of sporting action from London, while USParalympics.org touts significant coverage.
Winkler’s first shot put in his quest for gold will be at 5 a.m. local time on Sept. 1.
Hopefully we can see it.