The second-largest sporting event to take place in 2012 -- 4,200 athletes representing 160-plus countries, including 10 who call Minnesota home. An opening ceremony that featured Stephen Hawking, Ian McKellan and, of course, the Queen and more than 62,000 people who welcomed a diverse group of athletes. If I relied on the newspaper that arrives on my doorstep each morning, I would have had no idea this event, the start of the Paralympics, took place on Wednesday to much acclaim. The already record-setting London 2012 Paralympics are likely to be recorded in history books as the turning point for athletes with disabilities, who from this day forward will be recognized first as top-tier athletes and only second as inspirational because of their disabilities.
JENNIFER NELSON, Minneapolis