Tokyo Paralympic Video games Get Prime-Time Slot, Extra Athletes Than Ever : NPR

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The flags of the participating nations will be displayed in the parade of athletes during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Carmen Mandato / Getty Images hide caption

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Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

The flags of the participating nations will be displayed in the parade of athletes during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

The Tokyo Paralympic Games are becoming more visible and attracting more participants than ever, even in the face of the pandemic.

Here’s a look at the records and other “firsts” at this year’s Games, which officially opened on Tuesday and will run through September 5th.

The games take place during prime time

For the first time, the opening ceremony and events will run in one slot at prime time on network television. This year’s games are sponsored by NBC.

NBC will be broadcasting more than 1,200 hours of programming on its TV and digital channels in the coming days (compared to around 70 hours of total coverage during the 2016 Rio Games, The Associated Press reports).

To learn more about why it took so long and what to expect this year, check out this conversation about Paralympics coverage on 1A by NPR and WAMU.

Start two new sports

The Peruvian para-badminton player Pedro Pablo de Vinatea will train in Lima in June 2020. Raul Sifuentes / Getty Images

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Raul Sifuentes / Getty Images

Two of the 22 summer sports approved by the International Paralympic Committee are new to the Games: badminton and taekwondo.

Although the IPC has announced that it will make badminton official in 2015, it is only now making its debut.

Taekwondo will be the first Paralympic full contact sport ever.

Read more about the rules for badminton and taekwondo.

More women than ever will be competing

According to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Organizing Committee, 4,403 athletes will take part in the international competition.

This surpasses the previous record at the Paralympics (4,328 in Rio in 2016).

There are 1,853 women participating in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, another record. Previously, Rio had the most female athletes in 2016 at 1,671.

LGBTQ representation is growing

At least 28 publicly out Paralympians will compete in the Tokyo Summer Games, more than twice as many as in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, according to Outsports.

The athletes on the list come from at least eight countries and are mostly women. The only man on the list is Lee Pearson, an equestrian from Great Britain.

According to the website, “at least three non-binary or neutral athletes” will also take part in the games.

Medalists get more money

Thanks to a 2018 decision by the U.S. Olympic Committee, Paralympists who win medals in Tokyo will receive the same thing as Olympic athletes in Tokyo for the first time.

The move gave Paralympic athletes a 400% increase for each medal win, which finally put them on par with the U.S. Olympians.

The coverage of this story originally appeared in the Morning Edition’s live blog.