PARALYMPICS: THE OLYMPICS OF INSPIRATION
The name Paralympics is a combination of two words that indicates it similarity to the Olympics. Para-Olympics, “para” – a greek word meaning beside/alongside. In both Olympics and Paralympics, athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze medal respectively. At the London 2012 games, the Olympics got the gold while the Paralympics got the silver. Pardon me; I was talking about the colour of the torches. I wonder what that says about people’s thought of the two supposedly equal games, just a personal opinion.
To me, London 2012 Paralympics game was a game of inspiration. I did not see athletes competing, but heroes playing. I saw men and women with no legs running with all their might. I witnessed women and men, with no arms swimming like fishes. I beheld men and women their behind along as they reach to hit the ball in sitting volleyball. I saw wheel chairs locking in the battle to make a basket in wheel chair basketball. Need I say more? I saw men and women with disabilities of one form or the other reach out to be great. They trained despite their disabilities; they trained and made their disabilities stepping-stones. For a wheelchair basket-baller has shown that a wheel chair is not a constrain but a mobility equipment, like a car or bicycle.
Paralympians are in my opinion, a source of inspiration for any and every person living with a disability of some sort and a challenge to the so-called able-bodied individuals.
For people with disabilities, you don’t have to be a Paralympian, all you need to do is leave the corner of self pity and find something you can be good at. Practise day and night and enjoy being great at it. We have heard of famous painters painting with their legs and of inspirational speakers without legs. Whether you were born with disability or you had it thrust upon you, my advice is; make the best use of it. People who pity you and dish out pennies to you are not your friend, they are offering you the easy way out. People who challenge you and give you opportunities to rise up the occasion are the ones to stick with. All the best to you, on your way to self-discovery.
For the so-called able-bodied, one sentence is all I have for you; if someone can do it with a disability, then get off your back side and make something out of your life. Never let the lack of opportunity be your limitation, opportunity comes to those that are ready and flees the unprepared genius. I wish you good speed on your way to the top.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE GAME.
The Paralympics is a major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a wide range of physical and intellectual disabilities including mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. In other words, it is an international sport event for people who could have sat at home in self-pity but instead strived to make something out of their life. It’s a game played by individuals using their disabilities as challenges and not limitations. They have risen to the challenges and have triumphed.
Paralympics game was born as a form of recreation and physical therapy for veterans of World War II with spinal cord injuries by Dr. Ludwig Guttman of Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England. The game started with a gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948 and has become one of the largest international sporting events by the early 21st century. Since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, Paralympics games are held immediately following the respective Olympic Games and are governed by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC).