America’s Forgotten Olympians

James SenbetaCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2008

As the fire died down and the torch passed to Great Britain for 2012, there were a few athletes still preparing to perform on the grandest of stages.

Most of the world believes these games of world celebration have ended and all the accomplishments have been achieved, from Michael Phelps to Usain Bolt, from Team USA Basketball to China’s gold metal count.

But wait, the flame is relit once again on Sept. 6 for the Paralympic Games, yet not many Americans would know due to the NBC broadcasting of the events in Beijing.

Unlike the daily coverage over NBC/Universal’s programming on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, SciFi, and Bravo, the 2008 Paralympics will only be available on the Universal Sports TV channel and its website from the start date to Sept. 17.

They train for years to make Team USA, sacrificing their time and energy just like your favorite Olympic heroes, only to be placed on an obscure channel most people do not have?

Sadly, they only managed to make this happen because of the significant amount of US Servicemen, including two injured Iraq War Veterans, on the American Paralympic team. What a way to support our troops!

Mark Zupan, Andy Cohn, and Scott Hogsett of Murderball notoriety lead the US wheelchair rugby team to redeem themselves from the bronze performance four years ago to continue a gold medal tradition since the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics.

Matt Scott of Nike fame stars alongside Paul Schulte, Michael Paye, Steve Serio, and Joe Chambers on the US men’s wheelchair basketball squad. The US women’s team is looking for repeat gold from Athens, led by Patty Cisneros, Carlee Hoffman, Jennifer Ruddell, Christina Ripp, and Stephanie Wheeler.

David Wagner looks to extend his domination in the wheelchair tennis men’s quad division. Kaitlyn Verfuerth looks to continue her success of gold medals in women’s singles and doubles from last year’s Parapan American Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

In track and field, Marlon Shirley, Scott Winkler, Joshua George, and Adam Bleakney led the way for the men, while April Holmes, Jessica Galli, Anjali Forber-Pratt, Cheri Blauwet, Tatyana McFadden, Amanda McGrory, Shirley Reilly, and Maggie Redden plan to gorge on medals for the women’s events.

Kari Miller stars on sitting volleyball, Lindsey Carmichael is a world record-holder in archery, and ESPY winners Jessica Long and Erin Popovich with Iraq War Veteran Melissa Stockwell head up Team USA Swimming.

Regardless of whether they were born disabled, injured from combat, accident, or disease, these athletes deserve a portion of our time as they represent our nation against the rest of the world’s best.


Recaps: Wheelchair Rugby |