Find out which other stories made it into the Top 50 Paralympic Moments of 2012.
During the London 2012 Parlaympic Games, the IPC teamed up with Samsung and 50 athletes to produce behind-the-scenes video blogs.
Spanish swimmer Teresa Perales was one of those bloggers.
During the Games the Opening Ceremony flag bearer for Spain produced eight blogs which were viewed over 80,000 times.
By far the most popular one was a moment in the mixed zone of the Aquatics Centre when Perales, under the flash lights of photographers, wheeled towards her young son to give him her first medal.
“I wanted to win 6 medals because when I saw the ranking I knew I had a chance to getting up to the podium. My goal was to give my first medal at the Paralympics to my son,” she said.
Earlier in the day, she had recorded a blog, saying: “I think that I’m ready to compete. I have trained very hard, and I want to win. I don’t know what will happen, but what I know is that I have done everything that I could, so I’m happy for that. I hope this evening I can tell you that I have won a medal.”
Perales wanted her first medal to be gold, but in the 50m freestyle she missed out by 0.62 seconds to Ukraine’s Natalia Prologaieva.
Her son did not seem to mind about the silver though, as he came running up to her screaming, “Mama, champion!”
Pushing for gold
Teresa went on to win silver in the 200m freestyle S5 and 50m butterfly S5 and bronze in the 200m individual medley SM5 and 100m breaststroke SB4.
When it came to the final race, the 100m freestyle S5, she finally won the gold she had longed for.
“I wanted the gold and I had to wait until the last day to win it. And this was one of my very special moments at the London Paralympic Games, when I went to see my child and I told him that I had won a gold, and he expected a silver medal.”
The moment is also captured in a Samsung Paralympic Blog: Perales, still wet after her race and wearing her costume, is carried up some stairs in the arms of a member of the Spanish team. There her son is waiting. In an incredibly touching moment she sits on the top step and explains to him that she has won gold this time.
Other blogs by Perales included one in her bedroom where she showed five other teammates lounging around before bed time – a unique insight into life in the village. She introduced her husband and son on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in another video and explains in another that before every race she listens to “Heroes live forever” by Australian singer Vanessa Amorosi, which was performed at the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.
“Since then I have always listened to this music before competition, especially important competition,” she explained.
Best Games ever
The overall competitive experience in London was a tough one for Perales.
“The competition was very hard to me. The last year had been difficult. I had trained as never before, with full dedication to the water and to the gym. But a few months before London I started to feel very tired.
“I trained a lot but I didn’t felt good.
“I really think that I won my medals with my mind and not only with my body.”
For Perales, London 2012 was her fourth Games, but by far the one that made the most impact in the media.
“I’m totally thankful to the British people for the way they treated us,” she said. “The media coverage and the organisation of the competition have helped people to change the way they look at us, not only in the UK but all over the world.
“In Spain, for the very first time journalists treated the Paralympic medals in the same way as the Olympics. They have compared my 22 medals with the Michael Phelps medals.
“I opened the news on TV, and was on the front page of newspapers. And I think that this is the consequence of the changes in the minds of the people.
“So I believe that the legacy of the Games is that it helped to change the way people look at us.”
Editor’s Note: For the final 50 days of the year, the IPC will count down the year’s top moments in Paralympic sport, culminating with the year’s best moment on 31 December.
The 50 moments were selected by nominations from National Paralympic Committees and International Federations and are based on sport performance, emotional moments, media attraction and athletes’ personal stories.