2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics
By Kelly Croslis
Every two years the world comes together as one, not only to compete against one another but to show how we can be one. The Summer Olympics are approaching, and soon the world will turn its sights on London, England, the host of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
London is the first city to host the modern Olympics three times; previously they were the host in 1908 and 1948. The 2012 games will be held from July 27th through August 12th, and will use a combination of new and existing venues, as well as some historical ones, such as Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade.
With each Olympic Games, there is talk about introducing new sports to the Olympic competition, and this year will be no different. Olympic Committee voted to drop Baseball and Softball for the upcoming games and will introduce Netball as a demo sport. Looking ahead, Golf and Rugby Sevens will be added to the 2016 games.
One of the most talked about parts of any Olympic games is the mascots that are created and become the face of the games. For the summer games and for the Paralympics there will be two mascots. Wenlock and Mandeville are animated characters, which depict two drops of steel from a steelworks in Bolton. Wenlock is named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock and Mandeville, after Stoke Mandeville, a village in Buckinghamshire.
London will also host the 2012 Paralympic games, to be held from August 29th through September 9th and will use the same venues as the Olympics. This will be the first-time London is officially hosting the Paralympic Games. The first games were held in 1948 and considered a sport competition for British World War II veteran patients with spinal cord injuries. They were called the 1948 International Wheelchair games and seen as a precursor to the Paralympic Games we know today.
In September 2011, Paralympic Day, was held to celebrate the games and show case the 20 sports that are part of the games and introduced several sessions that are inclusive to people with hearing disabilities. Furthermore, the London games will be the first games since Sydney where athletes with intellectual disabilities will be allowed to compete. Swimming and table tennis are two sports which will include an ID classification.
In January 2012, the first ever Youth Olympic Games will be held in Innsbruck, Austria. From January 13th through January 22nd, more than 1100 athletes from over 60 countries will participate in what is being called the Winter Youth Olympic Games. The international multi-sport event is open to youth from ages 14 through 19. All participants will be required to stay in the host city during the games and take part in an integrated sport and culture and education program.
About the Author:
Kelly S. Croslis is a sports enthusiast, freelance writer and stay-at-home mom to 3 active teenage girls. She uses much of what she learned and experienced in her 20 years of military life and raising her girls. Kelly is a columnist for several Online magazines and Freelances for her local newspaper. She lives with her husband and 3 girls in Pennsylvania.