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Published on September 26th, 2016 | by mpower


Quotations of the Week from the 2016 Rio Paralympics

By Nick Bruce

Courtesy of MyInfo 2016 reporting, here’s what’s been said during the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games – the funny, outlandish, poignant and poetic.

Star Status

“To be the first man to lift over 300kg is a significant achievement. It is probably equivalent to the first male going under 10 seconds in the 100m. It was the equivalent of lifting a sedated Siberian tiger.”  Powerlifter Siamand Rahman (Iran) won gold, setting three world records in the process and lifting 683 pounds…or the weight of two baby elephants

“I am the biggest star in Crete (laughs). They are already celebrating there now and we will have another big party when we go back. In the last Paralympics in London I won bronze. When I got home the people broke down a wall to get to me. This will be even bigger.”  Manolis Stefanoudakis (Greece), who has a gold medal in the men’s javelin F54 to bring home

“I don’t care how many legs you’ve got. There is only another six people in the world in my bodyweight that can beat me in a bench press. We are the caveman of the Paralympic sport. We pick up heavy stuff and lift it – and I like that.” Powerlifter Micky Yule (Great Britain), who placed 6th in powerlifting -65kg class.

Expect the Unexpected

“I am 24th in the rankings, I came here with no expectation of winning a medal. I should say that I came to Rio as a parachuter, but landed well…This medal is for my family. They changed their life to change mine. They changed their way of eating, of living, only to help me. The medal is for them.”  Gracelino Barbosa (Cape Verde), with a surprise bronze medal in the men’s 400m T20.

“I have a really big bucket list. I want to do crazy things and I want to enjoy with family and friends what I couldn’t do while I was training.”  Marieke Vervoort (Belgium), silver medalist in the women’s 400m T52, who made headlines earlier this year that she wanted to end her life through euthanasia after the Rio 2016 Games.

 “I came here today to give my best and go into the final. But at the time I entered the stadium and I saw it was packed, and the supporters shouting, suddenly my legs became so happy and they ran ‘alone’ – and I went behind them.” Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos (Brazil), 19-year-old who ran a world record of 10.67 in the heats of the men’s 100m T47, then ran 10.57 seconds in the final to win the gold medal.

 The Truly Unique

“My daughter wanted a mascot toy. She saw a victory ceremony from our judo team and called me and said ‘I want the same mascot with the silver hair’. I said ‘That’s not fair, that’s for second place’ and she said it was the most beautiful.” Coincidence or not, Oksana Boturchuk (Ukraine) was the women’s 200m T12 silver medalist.

“It became a special trinket that now has to go with me wherever I go. If I don’t have my lucky artichoke, then it gets a little hairy.”  Equestrian rider Rebecca Hart (USA), revealing her superstitious item.

“They are 15 years old and they come up above my belly button. They are blue. Well, at least they started blue. I’m not sure there is a color to them any more.” Kurt Fearnley (Australia), bronze medalist in the men’s 5000m T54, thankfully not revealing his lucky underwear.

Being a Paralympian – the challenges

“There is no comfortable race. It is physically painful. Because of my lung trauma and brain trauma from being on life support I always lose vision while I am swimming. When I come to the wall I don’t know where I am… My Invictus brother and sisters are in my mind all the time.” Swimmer Elizabeth MARKS (USA) after winning the gold medal in the SB7 women’s 100m breaststroke, thinking of her fellow competitors from the Invictus Games (for wounded servicemen and women)


“I was carried out of Syria in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk. I want to be able to go back to Syria on my own two feet. I don’t want to cross the borders the way I left the country. I want to be able to swim back to Syria. It’s only 20km across the Euphrates.” Syrian refugee swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein (Independent Paralympic Athlete) on returning to his homeland. He began swimming at age five in the Euphrates River, and competed in two events in Rio.

“It’s not your flu, your stroke, your tumor or your treatments that is the problem, it’s only you. Don’t let the pain become bigger than the solutions. The solution is always bigger and that’s why I’m here today.”  Veronica Hipolito (Brazil), bronze medalist in the women’s 400m T38, describing the challenges ahead of competing.

“A year ago I broke my femur. I had to have surgery, I suffered a lot of pain and when I was in the hospital I thought my career was over. Now I’m here with my silver medal, which is the most golden silver medal that I’ve seen in my life.”  Mateus Cardoso (Brazil) with his medal from the T37 men’s long jump.

Being a Paralympian – the successes

“I was running and asking my guide (Heitor de Oliveira Sales), ‘How we are, how we are, how we are?’ and he only answered, ‘Go, go, go, go’, and me again, ‘How we are, how we are?’, and he saying again, ‘Go, go go’, ‘How we are?’, and finally he said, ‘It is done, it is done, it is done’.”
Gold medalist in the 4x100m relay T11-13, Daniel Silva (Brazil) describes what it’s like to run visually impaired

 “I’d like to wake up the thoughts and the heart and the brain of a lot of people, the champion that exists in a lot of people. I hope to wake up that part of them.”
Back-to-back archery champion and four-time Paralympic medalist, Zahra Nemati (Iran)

“I was on the bus going to the dentist and my old trainer saw me. I have never tried to hide my impairment so she saw my limbs and probably thought, ‘This thin guy may be able to run’, so she convinced me there on the bus and now I’m running in front of 20,000 people.”

Two-time medalist in the T47 races Yohansson Nascimento (Brazil) on his start in athletics.

“I like to see us as athletes, I know there’s a story behind every Paralympian. We just sweat the same sweat as the Olympians.” Canoeing gold medalist Emma Wiggs (Great Britain)

Obrigado Brasil

“My biggest dream was to represent Brazil in the Paralympics in Brazil and with my family encouraging in the stadium. I waited my whole life for this moment. My family gave everything for me and I will do for my children too.”  Daniel Dias (Brazil), a husband, father and winner of seven medals in Rio with two more events


“When you go to someone’s house for dinner, when you leave you say, ‘Thank you for having me’ and that’s what that was. It was a ‘thank you’ to the Brazilian people for having the Paralympics.”
Liam Malone (New Zealand), a 3-time medalist who waved the Brazilian flag in Olympic Stadium after winning gold in the 400m T44

“In London (2012) I spent two of the most beautiful weeks of my entire life. Now I think that nothing will ever beat the emotions I felt here in Rio. Everything is so perfect, I want to live here, I don’t even want to get out from this arena, I want to live with this medal around my neck forever.”
Beatrice Vio (Italy), winner of the gold medal in the women’s individual foil fencing category B

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