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  • Paralympics President Draws on Inspiring Performances to Close Games


    (ATR) Andrew Parsons closed his first Paralympic Games as president of the IPC by lauding the “logic defying performances” from the Games.
    Paralympics Closing Ceremony (Simon Bruty for OIS/IOC)

    The International Paralympic Committee President thanked athletes for going above and beyond in what was called a record setting Games. Parsons also reserved thanks for PyeongChang 2018’s organizers, volunteers, and all other stakeholders.

    “Your logic defying performances have focused the world not on what holds you back, but on what motivates and pushes you forward,” Parsons said of the athletes. “You have shown that with a strong mind and even stronger heart, you can achieve incredible feats.”

    PyeongChang 2018 closed the Paralympic Games after nine days of competition, ending all hosting commitments won seven years ago.

    The United States topped the medal table for the first time since the 1992 Winter Paralympics. Team USA won 36 medals, eight more than runner-up Canada. Hosts South Korea won three medals, including a gold medal in the men’s classical sitting cross country. The total eclipsed the total number of medals that South Korea had won in its Winter Paralympic history, including the country’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal.

    Parsons handed the IPC flag over to Chen Jining, mayor of Beijing and Executive Chairman of the Beijing 2022 bid.

    During the closing ceremony Beijing 2022’s handover performance centered around the “magic of winter dreams & the indomitable spirit of Paralympic athletes,” according to bid’s social media.

    “Congratulations to Pyeongchang 2018 and to all of you, the athletes, for making the past several weeks one of the most epically inspiring and memorable celebrations of winter sport in Olympic and Paralympic history,” Beijing 2022 tweeted after the ceremony. “Now it's our turn... See you at Beijing 2022!”

    Now, the Paralympic movement casts its eyes to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games.

    Earlier this year Governor Yuriko Koike confirmed the government would propose $7.4 billion in expenditures to prepare the city for the Paralympic Games. Tokyo 2020 said the costs were necessary, but should not be considered part of the overall Olympic budget, which had been trimmed down after ballooning projections.

    Koike was in PyeongChang for the 2018 Paralympic closing ceremony, the second straight Games that she attended. Koike received the IPC flag following the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

    Tokyo 2020 said in a statement following the ceremony that it hopes the next Paralympics “follow the example set by PyeongChang”. To coincide with the Games’ closing the organizing committee released a promotional video showcasing the city of Tokyo.

    “At the moment the Paralympic flame was extinguished at the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Games, I felt a great responsibility as the world's attention switched to Tokyo,” Yoshiro Mori, Tokyo 2020 President, said in a statement. “Inspired by the passion and enthusiasm on display at PyeongChang 2018, we will continue to do our best to deliver a successful Tokyo 2020 Games.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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