There were 4,280 athletes who competed in 503 events at London 2012, making for the biggest Paralympic Games ever.
1. David Weir: The British wheelchair racer became a household name across the world during the 11 days of competition, as he notched golds in the men’s 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m and marathon T54 events, edging out rivals Marcel Hug of Switzerland and Kurt Fearnley of Australia in all of them.
2. Jessica Long: She was the most successful American at London 2012 with eight medals in the pool, including five golds, two silvers and a bronze.
3. Siamand Rahman: The Iranian powerlifter set a new Paralympic record with a lif of 270kg, which proved more than good enough for the gold medal in the men’s +100kg final.
4. Jonnie Peacock: At just 19, it took Peacock only 10.90 seconds to win the most-hyped race of the Games, the 100m T44, in a new Paralympic record time. With the entire Olympic Stadium chanting his name and his face all over the national newspapers the next morning, it is just the beginning of Paralympic stardom for him.
5. Zhang Cuiping: She was one of China’s many stars of the Games, picking up two golds and a bronze on the shooting range at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
6. Matt Cowdrey: He became the most decorated Paralympian ever in Australia after racking up eight more medals in the pool in London, including five golds.
7. Daniel Dias: Brazil’s top swimmer won six golds at the Games, giving his nation something to look forward to when the Paralympics go to Rio in 2016.
8. Patrick Anderson: As the top player on a Canadian wheelchair basketball team that won gold, Anderson posted career numbers, averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists per game. He scored a game-high 34 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists for Canada in the final.
9. Ryley Batt: Australia’s wheelchair rugby team cruised to gold in London, and Batt led the charge with 161 total points in his five matches, including 37 against Canada in the final.
10. Jacqueline Freney: The Australian swimmer could not have asked for a better Paralympic Games, as she ended up the top medal winner of London 2012 with an astounding eight gold medals at the Aquatics Centre. Six of her golds came from individual events, with the other two coming from relays.
11. Alex Zanardi: The story of the former Formula 1 driver alone was enough to capture crowds, but the fact that he won two golds and a silver in road cycling made it even sweeter. Zanardi topped the podium in the individual road race and time trial H4 events, and his team finished second in the mixed team relay H1-4.
12. Esther Vergeer: The Dutch wheelchair tennis sensation won her fourth Paralympic gold and 470th straight match when she beat compatriot Aniek van Koot to wrap up the women’s singles gold at Eton Manor.