Medal Quest: What Makes A Champion?
Every two years, the world’s best athletes gather to compete in the world’s toughest games: The Paralympics. Called “the Olympics no one knows,” the Paralympics bring together top athletes with physical disabilities in thrilling matches on the field, in the pool, on bicycles, and in wheelchairs. This year the Games will be held in London, August 29 - September 9.
Now you can be a part of the Paralympics experience through Medal Quest: American Athletes and the Paralympic Games. Medal Quest is a new digital project which allows audiences to engage with the world’s top athletes. Produced by WGBH Boston and presented under agreement with the United States Olympic Committee and the International Paralympics Committee, Medal Quest will showcase these remarkable competitions at the highest level, while following America’s elite athletes as they train for and compete in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“These competitors battle for the same gold, silver, and bronze medals as Olympic athletes, in the same stadiums, in the presence of the same flaming torch,” says WGBH Executive Producer Judith Vecchione. “Some of these athletes race or play tennis and basketball in wheelchairs. Others play goalball, a kind of dodgeball for the blind, or they swim with missing limbs or neurological impairments. They are powerful, highly trained, proud to represent their countries…and they are physically disabled.”
Through a comprehensive website, and a combined presence via multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, PBS’s video player, and blog coverage, Medal Quest will ask its audiences a key question: “What makes a champion?” Is it skill, training, technology? Is it support from family and friends? Or is it something more?
The Medal Quest project will allow audiences to find their own answers as they engage directly with America’s Paralympic athletes, witnessing firsthand the talent, emotions, and drive behind their battles and triumphs, wins and heartbreaks.
Continuing with new videos through October, this multi-tiered Web series will look at Paralympic history and profile the next generation of champions. It also will present the newest group to join the Paralympic movement: wounded “warrior athletes” from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Each month, Medal Quest will spotlight four athletes, featuring bios, photography, and blog entries written by the athletes themselves. Additionally, the project will offer videos that will introduce rival competitors, tools of the trade, and great athletes and moments from past competitions.
While the Games are a highly anticipated and widely followed event in countries abroad, Medal Quest will offer American audiences their first in-depth look at the Games. Fans will learn about the rules and best players in the 19 summer Paralympic sports, including track and field, equestrian, judo, goalball, and much more. Additionally, features such as “Ask the Athlete,” and “Hometown Heroes” will allow users to interact directly with athletes as they train and compete in the 2012 games, kicking off in London on August 29, 2012.
For opportunities to follow and connect with some of the world’s most elite athletes, and for an up-close, in-depth look at the Paralympic Games, visit Medal Quest at pbs.org/medalquest.
Photo: USA’s Amanda McGrory wins the gold medal at the final of women’s 5000M T54 during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in the National Stadium. September 12, 2008 • Credit: CSPA/NewSport/Corbis