The Olympics brings athletes from around the world to compete, and they display the very best of the international community. But what about those who play their sports in a different way?
The Paralympics gives people who are disabled, either intellectually or physically, the opportunity to show off their athletic skill. The Paralympics cover plenty of sports including archery, cycling, swimming, volleyball, wheelchair volleyball and many more. According to paralympic.org, Latin America’s first Paralympics will be remembered as the peoples’ Games where the people of Rio turned out in their droves to support athletes of all countries. The Games were also the best ever in terms of athletic performance with many stand-out performances highlighting 12 days of great sporting action.
And for the first time ever an Independent Paralympic Athletes team took part featuring two refugee athletes and more countries than ever before won at least one Paralympic medal.
East Forsyth student Jessica Zhong (’19) said, “They give people the chance to show how amazing they are; people who wouldn’t have that opportunity otherwise.” The Paralympics started in 1948 with a group of injured British World War II veterans. It has grown since then to become one of the worlds largest sporting events.
The Paralympics are about inclusion, including those who don’t feel included from day-to-day. Zhong added about the Paralympics games, “The Olympics show us what the international community is about, togetherness and celebrating achievement. The Paralympics do the same, but even more, so they show us the way people can overcome.”
Overcoming adversity is a major theme of the participants in the Paralympics. All of them have impairments, and all of them work around or work with their impairments to become great achievers in their athletics. Some Paralympians even beat the the winning times of athletes in the Olympics earlier this summer. In fact, the Paralympics are responsible for breaking 134 different world records! The Paralympics are a gleaming example of how we as an international community can celebrate inclusive athletic achievements and success.