Aaron Fotheringham performs audacious stunt to kick-start the 2016 Paralympic Games

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The 2016 Paralympic Games have got off to a flying start, and when we say flying, we literally mean flying.

Extreme wheelchair stuntman Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham literally jumped through hoops to make it a spectacle befitting of the event.

The opening ceremony involved thousands of performers for what would go on to be a two hour procession, but crowd members within the Maracana Stadium were taken aghast when professional stuntman 'Wheelz' flew his wheelchair down a huge ramp and through a big hoop, with fireworks exploding out from either side of the structures.   


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To pull off this death-defying stunt, Las Vegas born Fotheringham had to ride his specially adapted wheelchair down a 17-foot ramp, which was built on one of the stands inside the Maracana.

He then had to fly the ramp in a straight line in order to perform a mid-air somersault while simultaneously flying through a big hoop edged with fireworks. All being well, the wheelchair and the stuntman then came to a soft landing on a huge airbag.

Fotheringham began his love of extreme wheelchair sports as a youngster, when he would go to watch his brother and his friends ride skateboards or BMX's at the local skate park.

He then went on to help design a customised WCMX wheelchair, made by Box Wheelchairs, to allow him to join in the fun with his brother and friends.

The custom chair has four-wheeled suspension, thus allowing him to make skate and BMX influenced tricks without too much of an abrupt landing.

You can see his incredible trick during the opening ceremony in the video below.

Fotheringham, or 'Wheels' as he is nicknamed, made the national finals of the 2005 Vegas AmJam BMX.

The build up to the Paralympic Games in Rio have been far from straight forward. The contest was met with major financial difficulties as a result of lack of sponsorship and poor ticket sales.

Despite the financial constraints having an impact on the infrastructure of the Games, the event itself has not been effected.

The 2016 Paralympic Games will be the 15th summer Paralympics to take place to date. It will see 4,300 athletes from 161 different nations all compete for medals in 528 different events, held with 22 different sports over an 11-day period. 

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Greg Rutherford
Commonwealth Games
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