Lightweight Ukraine Succeeds Among Heavyweight Nations at Paralympics 2012
Kyiv, September 10, 2012. Ukraine became the only country with GDP under one trillion to make it to the top 5 at the Paralympics 2012 in London. Taking into account GDP volume for each country in the 2012 Paralympics top 5, Ukraine has highest medal return. One medal won by the Eastern European emerging economy was worth under one billion in GDP count, while for all of Ukraine’s counterparts – from over 16 to more than 31 billion.
China took the first place in the competition with 231 medals (95 gold), while Russia was second with less than half as much – 102 medals (36 gold). Despite the UK team won a total of 120 medals, it became third in the Games with 34 golds. Only two gold medals short of the UK result were Ukrainian and Australian teams, who each scored 32 gold medals.
It was a close call for the Ukrainian team at the Paralympics games which took place on August 29 – September 9, 2012, as it had beaten the Australians only by one – 24th – silver medal. Ukrainian footballers brought the Eastern European country its final silver in a match against Russia on September 9th.
Ukrainian team cropped most medals in swimming – 44 overall, 17 gold. Another 22 medals were brought in athletics. Ukraine also won gold in cycling road, judo, rowing, and shooting.
British media anticipated Ukraine’s impressive performance – The Telegraph and BBC dedicated feature pieces to Ukraine’s success in paralympic sports. “It [Ukraine] has moved up the Paralympic medals table faster than any other in history”, reckons BBC reporter, noting that Ukraine took the 44th spot at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics, but finished fourth in the 2008 Beijing Games.
BBC highlights the training system for disabled children in Ukraine that allows for future champions: “There is now at least one school in every region of Ukraine dedicated to introducing … disabled children to everything from volleyball to athletics and swimming to powerlifting. … the experience gives them confidence, friends and an element of physical rehabilitation”. The author goes on to say: “Today, this system is recognised as one of the best in the world, despite lower levels of Paralympic funding than in countries such as China, the UK, the US and Australia”.