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2021-09-05 12:32:47

Over the past two weeks, over 4,000 of the best athletes in the world descended on Japan to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The Games were a rousing success for Team China, which took home 207 medals, including 96 golds. For the athletes, however, this year’s Paralympics were about more than just medals or world records. After an unexpected delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they were a chance to showcase years of hard work and determination on the world’s biggest stage.

From left to right, silver medalist Sun Bianbian of China, gold medalist Oksana Masters of the United States, and bronze medalist Jennette Jansen of the Netherlands celebrate after the women’s cycling H4-5 time trial in Shizuoka, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. Issei Kato/Reuters via IC

From left to right, silver medalist Sun Bianbian of China, gold medalist Oksana Masters of the United States, and bronze medalist Jennette Jansen of the Netherlands celebrate after the women’s cycling H4-5 time trial in Shizuoka, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. Issei Kato/Reuters via IC

Tian Jianquan (right) competes against Sun Gang during a men’s individual épée event in Chiba, Japan, Aug. 26, 2021. Zhang Lintao/People Visual

Tian Jianquan (right) competes against Sun Gang during a men’s individual épée event in Chiba, Japan, Aug. 26, 2021. Zhang Lintao/People Visual

Lu Dong of China (clenching the white towel in her teeth) waits for the start of the women’s S5 50-meter backstroke in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 30, 2021. David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via People Visual

Lu Dong of China (clenching the white towel in her teeth) waits for the start of the women’s S5 50-meter backstroke in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 30, 2021. David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via People Visual

Zheng Tao (center) competes in the men’s S5 50-meter butterfly in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 27, 2021. Adam Pretty via People Visual

Zheng Tao (center) competes in the men’s S5 50-meter butterfly in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 27, 2021. Adam Pretty via People Visual

Liu Cuiqing celebrates with her guide, Xu Donglin, after winning the women’s T11 200-meter final in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 4, 2021. Emilio Morenatti via People Visual

Liu Cuiqing celebrates with her guide, Xu Donglin, after winning the women’s T11 200-meter final in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 4, 2021. Emilio Morenatti via People Visual

Zhao Meiling (No. 13) sets the ball during the women’s sitting volleyball gold medal match in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 5, 2021. Thomas Lovelock for OIS via IC

Zhao Meiling (No. 13) sets the ball during the women’s sitting volleyball gold medal match in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 5, 2021. Thomas Lovelock for OIS via IC

Di Dongdong competes in the long jump in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 27, 2021. Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via People Visual

Di Dongdong competes in the long jump in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 27, 2021. Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via People Visual

Eventual gold medalist Yan Panpan gets ready to compete in the men’s powerlifting event in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 29, 2021. Dean Mouhtaropoulos via People Visual

Eventual gold medalist Yan Panpan gets ready to compete in the men’s powerlifting event in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 29, 2021. Dean Mouhtaropoulos via People Visual

Zhai Xiang lets his emotions show after Team China’s victory over Team Germany in a ping pong match in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 2, 2021. Carmen Mandato via People Visual

Zhai Xiang lets his emotions show after Team China’s victory over Team Germany in a ping pong match in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 2, 2021. Carmen Mandato via People Visual

Team China and Team Algeria line up before a women’s wheelchair basketball game in Chofu, Japan, Aug. 25, 2021. Carmen Mandato via People Visual

Team China and Team Algeria line up before a women’s wheelchair basketball game in Chofu, Japan, Aug. 25, 2021. Carmen Mandato via People Visual

From left to right, silver medalist Wang Lichao, gold medalist Zheng Tao, and bronze medalist Yuan Weiyi pose after sweeping the men’s S5 50-meter butterfly event in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 27, 2021. Dean Mouhtaropoulos via People Visual

From left to right, silver medalist Wang Lichao, gold medalist Zheng Tao, and bronze medalist Yuan Weiyi pose after sweeping the men’s S5 50-meter butterfly event in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 27, 2021. Dean Mouhtaropoulos via People Visual

Wang Jingang competes in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 1, 2021. Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via People Visual

Wang Jingang competes in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 1, 2021. Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via People Visual

Zhou Zhaoqian (center) leads the field in the women’s T54 1500-meter final in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik via People Visual

Zhou Zhaoqian (center) leads the field in the women’s T54 1500-meter final in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik via People Visual

Liang Zhongzhi has his bandages inspected during a soccer match in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. Carmen Mandato via People Visual

Liang Zhongzhi has his bandages inspected during a soccer match in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. Carmen Mandato via People Visual

From left to right, silver medalists Liu Yutong and Yin Menglu, gold medalists Sarina Satomi and Yuma Yamazaki, and bronze medalists Sujirat Pookkham and Amnouy Wetwithan congratulate each other after a women’s doubles badminton event in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 5, 2021. Joe TOTH/OIS via People Visual

From left to right, silver medalists Liu Yutong and Yin Menglu, gold medalists Sarina Satomi and Yuma Yamazaki, and bronze medalists Sujirat Pookkham and Amnouy Wetwithan congratulate each other after a women’s doubles badminton event in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 5, 2021. Joe TOTH/OIS via People Visual

Zhou Jingjing hugs gold medalist Beatrice Vio of Italy after their fencing match in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 28, 2021. Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto via People Visual

Zhou Jingjing hugs gold medalist Beatrice Vio of Italy after their fencing match in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 28, 2021. Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto via People Visual

Editor: Kilian O’Donnell.