This year’s Paralympics are expected to be the largest in a history that dates back to 1948 with a small group of disabled British World War II veterans.
The games are bringing together more than 4,000 athletes with a disability from some 160 countries. The United States alone has sent a 227-member team. President Obama lauded the athletes for “becoming new role models to our children.”
In recognition of the unique identities of the four nations of the United Kingdom, flames from each will be commingled in London for the 2012 Paralympic Games, which start August 29.
Groups of disabled and nondisabled British Scouts climbed Scafell Pike (England), Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa (Wales), Ben Nevis (Scotland) and Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland), where each group lit a flame using the traditional technique of rubbing flint together. Each peak is the highest in its nation. In this photo, Scottish mountaineer Kevin Shields, who is missing part of his left hand, is carrying the Scottish Paralympic Flame on top of Ben Nevis.