The 2022 Winter Paralympics came to an end with the closing ceremony at the National Stadium in Beijing on Sunday night.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was in attendance.
Nearly 600 athletes from 46 delegations had participated in nine days of competitions in 78 events across six sports in three competition zones: Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.
Many athletes had incredible performances. For example, Team USA bagged the para ice hockey gold medal for the fourth straight time. Canadian cross-country skier Brian McKeever, in his sixth Winter Paralympics, captured his 16th gold medal, matching the record of German alpine skier Gord Schoefelder for the most golds won by a male athlete in Paralympic history.
As the host, Team China had the best-performing athletes at the 2022 Winter Paralympics. They won 18 golds, 20 silvers and 23 bronzes, leading in every category of the medal standings after setting records in a series of events.
Competitive sports are about winning, but that’s not all. Athletes are a group of people who keep challenging their limits in order to surpass themselves. At Beijing 2022, for example, Noriko Kamiyama of Japan overcame an autoimmune disease and cancer to make her Paralympic debut at 49 years old. Chinese athlete Sun Hongsheng was one of the few armless participants in the alpine skiing men’s downhill standing event, but he was fearless, descending full speed from an elevation of over 2,000 meters.
“To the athletes, during the most difficult of times, your performances shone brightly,” International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons said at the ceremony. “Rather than rely on history, you created it … As beacons of hope, and champions for peace, your actions spoke way louder than words.”
At the end of the ceremony, Parsons declared the 2022 Winter Paralympics closed before the Paralympic flame went out. That marked the end of Beijing 2022, but it’s not goodbye. On the contrary, the 2022 Paralympics will continue to inspire and encourage athletes around the world to believe in their possibilities, act on their strong will and join the Paralympic Movement in the coming four years before gathering again in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in 2026.