Morteza Mehrzad
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Tallest Paralympian ever bothered by attention

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Iran’s Morteza Mehrzad was arguably the most noticed athlete at the Rio Paralympics, but the 8-foot, 1-inch sitting volleyball player was bothered by the attention, according to the International Paralympic Committee.

“I am not the whole team, I am only taller than the others,” Mehrzad said, according to the report.

Initial widespread media reports about the 29-year-old during the Rio Games quoted Iran’s coach, but not the player. Mehrzad’s backstory was compelling even without his input.

Mehrzad, the tallest person in his country, was noticed by an Iran sitting volleyball coach while appearing on TV about five years ago.

Mehrzad picked up the sport and in March made his first appearance for the national team at a major competition.

In Rio, he was the top scorer in the gold-medal match, a 3-1 win over defending Paralympic champion Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“From the moment of coming down from the podium in Rio, we should be thinking about Tokyo,” Mehrzad said, according to the IPC.

At age 16, while already clear of 6 feet tall, Mehrzad fell off his bike and suffered a pelvis injury. It caused his right leg to stop growing, so it is now about six inches shorter than his left leg.

MORE: NBC’s Rio Paralympics closing montage

Watch NBC’s Rio Paralympics closing montage

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The Rio Paralympics, which faced so much concern before they started, ended as one of the greatest Games ever.

NBC encapsulated the 11 days of competition in a 3-minute, 28-second montage of clips from the first South American Paralympics that aired during its coverage Sunday.

The next Paralympics are the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from March 9-18, 2018.

MORE: U.S. finishes fourth in Rio Paralympics medal standings

Team USA awards Paralympic nominees announced

United States' Bradley Snyder competes in the Men's 100m Butterfly S11 at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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U.S. Paralympics announced the nominees for Team USA Awards following the Rio Games on Sunday.

Public voting for the awards, part of the makeup for deciding the winners, is open online here through Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

Winners will be announced at the awards show Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C., one day after the Olympic and Paralympic teams will be honored at the White House.

The show will air on NBCSN on Oct. 4 from 10-11 p.m. ET.

The Olympic award nominees were announced before the Rio Olympic Closing Ceremony. The Olympic awards public voting deadline has passed.

Female Athlete of the Paralympics
Tatyana McFadden, Track and Field — Four golds, two silvers in seven events
Becca Meyers, Swimming — Three golds, one silver in five events, including three world records
Shawn Morelli, Cycling — Two golds in three events, one each in road and track
Grace Norman, Paratriathlon — Gold in paratriathlon debut; bronze in track 400m
Becca Murray, Wheelchair Basketball — Led the U.S. gold-medal team with 24.1 points per game

Male Athlete of the Paralympics
Will Groulx, Cycling — One gold, two silvers in three road events
Steve Serio, Wheelchair Basketball — Averaged 14 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists in last three games en route to gold
Andre Shelby, Archery — Individual compound gold less than three years after starting the sport
Brad Snyder, Swimming — Three golds, one silver in five events
Roderick Townsend, Track and Field — Paralympic records in winning high jump, long jump

Team of the Paralympics
Men’s Goalball — Silver medal after not qualifying for London 2012
Women’s Sitting Volleyball — Gold medal, going 4-1 in Rio, outscoring opponents 407-225
Men’s Wheelchair Basketball — First gold medal since 1988, undefeated since 2014
Women’s Wheelchair Basketball — Gold medal, beating defending champ Germany 62-45 in the final
Wheelchair Rugby — Silver medal, falling to Australia in double overtime in the final

MORE: U.S. finishes fourth in Paralympic medal standings