Just when you thought it was safe to tune out the London Olympics, another international competition's about to take place in the same venue. A little over two weeks from now, athletes with physical disabilities will compete in about two dozen events, including cycling, basketball and swimming.
Ticket sales for 2012's Paralympics have set a record, with more than two million sold so far. (That's about a couple hundred thousand more than the Beijing Paralympic Games four years ago).
Of the 4,000 participants only 227 will represent the United States, including six guides for visually-impaired athletes.
John Register, a silver medalist in the long jump during a previous Paralympics, works with the United States Olympic Committee and says that the effort to organize a U.S. team began only a decade ago.
"We really had our first consolidation of five different disability sport organizations under one roof with the U.S. Olympic Committee," Register says. "So, fourth in the medal count in Beijing. We're looking to improve upon that position in London."
Register, an army vet, lost his left leg in a sports-related injury nearly two decades ago. Through the Olympic Committee's Paralympics Military Programs, he works with vets who want to compete.
“They come and they see some potential in one type of a sport or another and they think they’re going to be the next biggest thing in Paralympic sport," he says. "They quickly realize when they see some of the people that have been competing for such a long period of time, that it’s going to take a lot of work.”
As in the just-concluded Olympics, California's sending the biggest delegation of athletes — 23 in all.