2012 Summer Paralympics

Paralympics Kick Off With Opening Ceremony That Shatters Stereotypes

Paralympics Kick Off With Opening Ceremony That Shatters Stereotypes

RIO DE JANEIRO — The Paralympic Games opened Wednesday with 4,350 athletes demonstrating first-hand their creed: "The heart knows no limits; everybody has a heart."

Wheelchair daredevil Aaron Wheelz showed the spirit in the opening act.

As a countdown from 10 reached its end, Wheelz raced down a giant ramp and somersaulted in the air through a giant 0 on the stadium floor. That finished the countdown and shattered more stereotypes about what athletes with disabilities can do.

The president of the International Paralympic Committee, Philip Craven, made a similar point with his speech. Craven, who lost the use of his legs in a rock-climbing fall at the...

31°