Paralympics

Melissa Stockwell:

Was the first female American soldier in history to lose a limb in active combat and was the first Iraq War veteran to compete in the Paralympic Games as a swimmer in 2008 • Was one of four athletes featured in a documentary called “Warrior Champions” • Completed her residency in prosthetics where she fit other amputees with prosthetic devices.

The shark attack survivor who loves sharks

“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a shark with its jaws dislocated. It’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen. And it’s charging at you.”

South African lifeguard Achmat Hassiem lost a leg in a shark attack off the coast of Cape Town. He went on to become a medal-winning Paralympian and a marine conservationist advocating the protection of endangered sharks.

Australian Paralympic couple Bridie Kean and Chris Bond embrace while taking a break from training. Photographer Suzanne McCorkell was awarded the 2014 Moran Contemporary Photography Prize for this image, which comes from her series ‘Scar Stories.’ Of the photo she says: “My aim for this image was to create a warm, beautiful feeling of intimacy, whilst highlighting the difficulties that they are challenged with on a daily basis.”

Read more about the Moran prize and see the other finalists’ work on Australian Photography.

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It might not exactly be doctor’s orders, but it made perfect sense to Josh Sweeney.

“If you hit somebody, you feel a lot better,” he says, making his way off the ice from a grueling practice with the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team – a sport also known as “murder-ball on ice.”

Sled hockey might be the fastest sport in the Paralympics; players strap on to a tiny sled perched a few inches off the ice, balanced on one double-runner skate. They use two short sticks like ski poles to fly across the ice. Then the sticks flip around, with a hockey blade on the tip. Players can switch the puck quickly between left and right, and shoot from either side.

The Paralympic movement started with disabled veterans after World War II. Today, there are many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in Sochi with the U.S. team; Sweeney is one of them.

From War In The Desert To ‘Murder Ball On Ice’

Photo Credit: David Gilkey/NPR

With the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games drawn to a fantastic close, join us in congratulating Paralympians from around the world who overcame massive challenges to compete!