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first_imgOrganisers bragged about legacy, but failed to deliver on Organisers bragged about legacy, but failed to deliver on a big promise made to secure the bid: the clean-up of Guanabara Bay, an open sewer that receives much of the citys untreated raw waste. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes acknowledged the clean-up was a “missed opportunity,” one the International Olympic Committee overlooked and often defended. The Olympics endured some rough going, plagued by empty seats, organizational glitches and scandals — one involving American swimmer Ryan Lochte and another in which high-ranking IOC member Patrick Hickey was arrested for scalping tickets. Hickey is still in Brazil awaiting trial and denies any wrongdoing. Bach also skipped the opening of the Paralympics to attend a mourning ceremony for former West Germany president and foreign minister Walter Scheel. His office said he missed Sundays closing ceremony to be in New York to take part in the United Nations Refugee Summit. Police investigators in Brazil want to question Bach about email exchanges he had with Hickey related to Irelands ticket allocation. Hes not accused of wrongdoing, but he could be held if he arrives in Brazil. Against most predictions, the Paralympics were a smoother ride with grassroots support. Arenas were packed with many tickets selling at just $3 apiece, in contrast to the Olympics, where many tickets were sold as part of high-end hospitality packages and often went unused. The Paralympics also topped the Olympics in compelling stories, and in some performances. No story was more moving than that of 37-year-old Belgian Marieke Vervoort, who won a silver medal in wheelchair racing. She has a degenerative spine disease and talked of plans to end her life by euthanasia when she can no longer endure the pain. “For me, I think death is something like they operate on you, you go to sleep and you never wake up,” Vervoort said. “For me, its something peaceful.” The top four finishers in the mens 1,500 — in the T13 class for visually impaired runners — all had better times than the Olympic champion in Rio, American Matthew Centrowitz. Abdellatif Baka of Algeria won in 3 minutes, 48.29 seconds. Centrowitz ran 3:50.00 in an admittedly slow, tactical race. German amputee long-jumper Marcus Rehm, who jumps with a carbon fiber blade and won gold in Rio, also holds the long jump world record of 8.40 meters. This is better than the winning jump in the Rio Olympics at 8.38 meters. There was tragedy, too, when Iranian Bahman Golbarnezhad, 48, died Saturday after crashing in a road-cycling race. China topped the medal table at the Paralympics, which is increasingly driven by nationalism — much like the Olympics. Britain, Ukraine and the United States were next on the table. “The Paralympics are a high-performance sporting event between countries,” IPC spokesman Craig Spence said. “The goal is to win the most gold medals here. Thats what every sport is about. Its about winning.” AP AH AHadvertisementlast_img

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