INTRODUCTION: Disabled athletes from all over the world gathered in Rome last week to take part in the Second International Paraplegic Games, which were held in the former Olympic stadium.
GV Australian teams head opening parade, followed by Austria
LV Crowd applaud as Canadians go by.
GV PAN Teams lined up in stadium (USA, Switzerland, Sweden, West Germany, Poland and others.)
GV Pope John Paul speaking to athletes in Vatican Square.
CU Pope speaking in English.
GV Pope blessing athletes.
SV Pope presenting gifts to athletes in wheelchairs. (2 SHOTS)
GV Competitors in wheelchair race.
SV Hilinegk of West Germany clearing highjump at 1.45 metres (2 SHOTS)
CU Baldt of Canada clearing highjump at 1.98 metres setting new world record.
SV PAN Baldt again attempts 2.07 metres but fails.
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT) (SEQ 4):
POPE: "And I am pleased that the second international games for disabled persons has brought you together. The games for which you have come show clearly and effectively that the handicapped person can be and are integrated into social life."
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Disabled athletes from all over the world gathered in Rome last week to take part in the Second International Paraplegic Games, which were held in the former Olympic stadium. While in Rome, the athletes were received in audience by the Pope, who blessed them and told them they were an inspiration to the disabled everywhere.
SYNOPSIS: Athletes from 28 countries took part in the games. On the opening day, they paraded in the Olympic stadium. All categories of disablement were represented among the athletes...some were blind, some amputees and others paraplegic.
The final assembly in the stadium saw several hundred physically handicapped athletes ready to test their skills in the sporting arena. For most of them, being there had been the culmination of many years of hard work and sheer determination to overcome their disability.
One of the highlights of the gathering for the athletes was an audience with Pope John Paul, who praised them for their courage.
The Pope then presented each athlete with a small gift to commemorate their visit to the Vatican.
The games were spread over three days and the events in the athletes competed included swimming, basketball and fencing as well as the whole range of track and field events - - plus events especially devised for wheelchair drivers. For each of the competitors, the Pope had a gift and a world of encouragement -- praising them for the magnificent effort they had made to overcome their handicaps.
When the games began, wheelchair drivers were given a severe test of strength and skill as they negotiated on an obstacle course.
Some measures of the remarkable prowess of some of the competitors is shown in the high jump event, Here, a West German clears a height of 1.45 metres.
And there was a new world record in this event - set by Baldt of Canada at 1.98 metres. With the record safely established, Baldt attempted to better it. But his attempt to clear 2.07 metres just failed. Yet it was typical of the entire games -- a determination to overcome handicaps and to take part, fully, in life.