Thought I’d add my tuppence worth to the plethora of praise being heaped on the Paralympics.
The Paralympics have been a real eye-opener for me – someone who’d barely even watched the Olympics before! The inspirational display of courage and dedication has (again, for me) surpassed the Olympics, but what really made it special was the emotion on display. The sheer unadulterated joy, delight and even disbelief shown by medal winners – people who have overcome obstacles that would make most people curl up in a ball and weep.
Those of us lucky enough to be able-bodied – and I include myself in this definition – might, two weeks previously, have simply pitied many Paralympians. I might have professed amazement at their skills and been briefly moved by their awesome commitment, but they were unavoidably different – they seemed almost alien, I’m embarrassed to say.
The Paralympics, however, have genuinely changed my perception of disability by revealing the people behind the difference, forging an emotional resonance and connection that shows them to be, well…people, just like me.
The experience of having children made me a nicer, more sympathetic, person, I like to think; watching the 2012 London Paralympics has – remarkably – done something similar, breaking down barriers in my foolish head that I barely knew existed.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the games, and well done to every single person who had the force of will and unbroken spirit to come to London and make a difference in the world.
Because this Paralympics has not been a “just” a display of strength and endurance by those we too seldom credit with such attributes; in my experience of the last fortnight it has been an unmitigated force for good in the world.