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Paralympics

A New Year’s Look at the Most-Read Paralympic Stories of 2021

The Tokyo Paralympics featured a remarkable array of competition and an illuminating reminder of challenges and obstacles people face every day.

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Takayuki Suzuki wins the men's SB3 50-meter breaststroke final for Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Paralympics on August 26, 2021, at Tokyo Aquatics Centre.


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After the Tokyo Olympics brought happiness and excitement and inspiration and tears of joy to competitors and viewers from around the world from late July to early August, the Paralympics didn’t disappoint, either.

From start to finish, it was a worthy encore, with lessons that will carry all of us into a better barrier-free future.

For instance, spectators witnessed blind runners and guides working together for a common goal, and also saw how special each swimming lap truly was for athletes born without one or more limbs, or lost arms or legs due to an illness. 

We witnessed intense, hard-hitting wheelchair rugby athletes, gutsy cyclists, crafty boccia competitors  and determined wheelchair tennis players in action ー just a few examples of the spirited teamwork and individual sportsmanship on display at the Paralympic Games.

As 2022 begins, JAPAN Forward is highlighting the most-read sports stories of the last twelve months in the categories of Olympics, Paralympics and (all other) Sports. Join us for a quick look at Japan’s Paralympic year, before we take you into a new year of Winter Olympics, Paralympics and other sporting challenges. And please follow our sports coverage in 2022 here and here.

Our five most-read stories of the Tokyo Paralympics are:

5. Paralympics Closing Ceremony Showcases Beauty in Diversity

The theme of the evening was “Harmonious Cacophony,” meaning that even in an aggregation of different noises, we can achieve harmony.

Read more here.

4. Opening Ceremony Delivers Aspirational, Upbeat Performance

“When the Games were postponed, Paralympians were beacons of hope,” said IPC boss Andrew Parsons. “They never stopped pursuing their dreams.”

Read more here.

3.TABLE TENNIS | Ibrahim Hamadtou Inspires with Dogged Determination

The Egyptian player has no arms but that didn’t stop him from mastering the sport.

Read more here.

2. Shoko Ota Hoping Her Success on the Cross-Country Track Carries Over to the Taekwondo Mat

The 32-year-old is set to become one of the few Japanese athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Paralympics.

Read more here.

1. Japan’s 51-Medal Haul Represents a Vibrant Collage of Great Feats and Inspiring Individuals

The host nation finished one medal shy of its Paralympic record, which was established at the 2004 Athens Games.

Read more here.

Now read our related stories:



Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.

Subscribe to Ed Odeven's weekly sports newsletter.

Ed Odeven is a longtime sports journalist who previously worked for The Japan Times as its chief basketball reporter for nearly 14 years. He also covered a wide range of other sports for the newspaper, including at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games. A graduate of Arizona State University, Odeven worked for several newspapers in the Grand Canyon State before moving to Japan. He has freelanced for dozens of media outlets around the world.