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Paralympic storylines 100 days out from the 2024 Paris Games

Paris 2024 Paralympic storylines with 100 days to go until the Aug. 28 Opening Ceremony ...

Picturesque Paris: Iconic venues, Opening Ceremony
The Games begin with the first Paralympic Opening Ceremony to be held outside of a stadium. The Place de la Concorde will host the event with an athlete parade along part of the Champs-Élysées.

The following 11 days will include competition at famous sites including the Grand Palais (wheelchair fencing and taekwondo), the Champ de Mars Arena (judo and wheelchair rugby), the Esplanade des Invalides (archery), a stadium next to the Eiffel Tower (blind soccer), the Château de Versailles (equestrian) and Roland Garros (wheelchair tennis).

Swimming: Jessica Long’s bid to move up all-time medals list
Long, who made her Paralympic debut in 2004 at age 12, ran her career medal total to 29 at the Tokyo Games, including 16 golds. The all-time Paralympic medals leaders list varies depending on the source, but it’s clear that few athletes have won 30 or more and only one American has more medals than Long: all-time medal leader Trischa Zorn, who won 55 in swimming from 1980 through 2004.

In 2023, Long returned after a post-Tokyo Paralympic break to win her 36th and 37th career titles at the world championships. Then she published a children’s book, “The Mermaid with No Tail,” which is based on her personal story.

The Paralympic Swimming Trials are June 27-29 in Minneapolis.

Track and Field: Paralympic champion vs. World champion in 100m
Nick Mayhugh won the Tokyo Paralympic 100m and 200m in the T37 division, both in world record times. Since, he was reclassified into the T38 division, moved to train with Olympic sprint star Noah Lyles’ group in Florida and witnessed the rise of a new challenger in countryman Jaydin Blackwell.

Blackwell, 20, swept the 100m and 400m at last July’s world championships with Mayhugh finishing third and fourth in the events. Mayhugh was returning from a back injury sustained in a car accident in July 2022.

Mayhugh and Blackwell are going head-to-head again at the ongoing world championships in Kobe, Japan. Blackwell won the 100m on Saturday. The 400m is Tuesday.

The Paralympic Track and Field Trials are July 18-20 in Miramar, Florida.

Team Sports: U.S. seeks gold-medal streaks
The U.S. men’s wheelchair basketball team and women’s sitting volleyball team each eye a third consecutive Paralympic title in Paris.

The wheelchair basketball roster was announced on March 30, including Steve Serio, who plans to make Paris his fifth and final Games. Paul Schulte is going to his fourth Paralympics, and first in 12 years, at age 45.

The women’s sitting volleyball roster has yet to be announced, but it could have up to four moms, including Lora Webster, a five-time Paralympian with four children.

The wheelchair rugby team seeks its first gold since the 2008 Beijing Games after taking bronze in London and silver in Rio and Tokyo.

The roster, announced April 30, includes Chuck Aoki, who will become the first four-time U.S. Paralympian in the sport, and Sarah Adam, who will be the first woman to play on a U.S. Paralympic wheelchair rugby team.

Medal Count: China continues to own the podium
At the Tokyo Paralympics, the U.S. won the fourth-most total medals (104) and third-most gold medals (37), while China topped both standings (207, 96) for a fifth consecutive Summer Games.

China continued to perform well in world championships in 2023, winning the second-most medals in track and field, third-most in swimming and third-most in cycling. Those three sports account for 356 of the 549 medal events at the Paris Games.

High jumper Ezra Frech won a world title and broke a world record last year. Since then, the Tokyo Paralympic gold medalist returned to the sport.