Viral moments of 2022 in the Paralympic Movement

As we bid farewell to 2022, watch some of the most popular videos on the International Paralympic Committee social media channels 29 Dec 2022
Six athletes pose for a photograph on the podium. A female athlete holds a gold medal with her left hand and her black guide dog with her right hand.
Carina Edlinger's guide dog Riley accompanied the Austrian athlete to the podium at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, melting the hearts of Paralympic fans around the world.
ⒸThomas Lovelock/OIS
By Ayano Shimizu | For the IPC

Para athletes produced many viral moments this year, whether on the tracks, the court or outside of competitions. 

Throughout the year, we posted video content on our social media channels. Some were funny, some were informational, but most importantly, the videos showcased how exciting Para sports are.

As 2022 comes to an end, we collected clips that were popular on our social media channels this year. Take a moment to enjoy.

Setting the stage for Beijing

The year started out with anticipation building ahead of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, which took place between 4-13 March in China. 

With just over a week until the historic Games in the Chinese capital, we wanted to share that the athletes were ready to put on an exceptional show.

The Paralympic Winter Games, which featured 78 medal events across six Para sports, were packed with sporting feats that will be remembered for years to come.

The cutest medallist alert

Carina Edlinger’s guide dog Riley melted hearts of Paralympic fans around the world and created one of the biggest moments on our social media this year.

After winning a bronze medal in Para cross-country skiing at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, the Austrian athlete presented a special medal to Riley on the podium. 

Edlinger, who won gold in the women's sprint free and bronze in middle distance vision impaired category, said that the most important thing coming to Beijing was bringing her guide dog with her.

“Even when you have a bad day your dog still comes to you and wants to have a cuddle. So he is more than gold. He's always there. If he's not there it's a bad day for me. As long as I have him (it's good). He's my biggest fan in life. No one can cheer or shout so much for me. My dog needs to be there,” she said.

Golden girl from Tokyo 2020

Great sporting moments never get old, and we all love watching them over and over.

This video of Italian sprinter Ambra Sabatini winning her maiden gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games was our most watched video on Facebook this year.

The Paralympic debutant came from behind to win the women’s 100m T63, leading Italy’s 1-2-3 finish followed by Martina Caironi and Monica Graziana Contrafatto. Sabatini celebrated in tears at a rainy Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

Ready set … Go!

Are you wondering what our most watched video on TikTok was?

It was this video from Para cycling at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Athletes on handcycles are getting ready for their race to begin.

Since it was posted in May, this video has been watched more than 73 million times and has more than 7.5 million likes.

Paralympic evolution

Paralympic sports have evolved so much in recent decades. The level of competition has improved – athletes are faster and stronger.

Take a look at this clip comparing a 100m race from the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games with last year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

A total of 2,999 Para athletes competed in the 1992 Paralympic Games, while the Tokyo 2020 Games featured 4,403 Para athletes.

Coolest off-season hobby

Have you ever wondered what Para snowboarders do during the off-season? We have an answer from Canada’s Tyler Turner, who won a gold and a bronze at the 2022 Paralympic Games. 

He skydives.

Turner, who lost both legs following a skydiving accident, says in the video that he used to jump into pools because he cannot stop running once he starts. Then he took his challenge to the next level and shared what it is like to run off of aircrafts.

A violin lesson from a Paralympian

What do Paralympians do outside of competitions? For former Para swimmer Manami Ito, it was learning to play the violin with a prosthetic arm. A year after she played the violin at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Japanese showed us how she plays the instrument using equipment made just for her. 

Ito, who competed at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games, plays with a bow attached to her prosthetic arm and uses her shoulder blades to move it back and forth. 

Even though it was difficult for her to hit the correct notes when she started playing the violin with her prosthetic arm, she played a very beautiful tune at the Opening Ceremony.