Monday Motivation – Inspiration from Paralympics and the Pioneers of Disability Sports
2016 Rio Olympics were special for my daughter Little B. It was the first Olympics of her life, or at least the first one she watched with interest and was able to understand. For the entire duration of the extravaganza, we watched a number of events and saw sportspersons running faster, scaling higher and lifting weights stronger. True to the Olympics motto of Citius, Altius and Fortius.
And then after a fortnight, it was time for her to witness another exceptional event – the Paralympics. Right from the opening ceremony in which Aaron Fotheringham jumped in his wheelchair to Amy Purdy’s dance with an industrial robot, Little B was in awe. As the game progressed, my daughter was able to notice the stark difference between Olympics and Paralympics. Champions of Olympics were champions; however, champions of Paralympics were champions extraordinaire. Their perseverance and strong will and their fight against all odds was a privilege to watch.
Little B could perceive the difference and she was able to make sense of it at her own level. She was almost six at that time, so she was getting better at empathizing. Lot of her conversations with me stemmed from her trying to put herself in an athlete’s shoes. She talked about how challenging it would have been for her if she was in that position. The more she thought about it, the more she appreciated it.
It is inspiring to read about the evolution of the Paralympic games and the pioneers who paved the way for others to follow. This infographic, The Pioneers of Disability Sports, by Bristol Street Versa sums it up quite well –
Rio Paralympics were commendable in showcasing how each one of us carries a special beacon inside us, irrespective of the physical challenges that nature might have slapped us with. Therefore, it is disheartening to read statistics like this one by Sport England. According to one of their studies, just 17% of people with “long-term limiting illness, disability or infirmity” participate weekly in sports. This is much lower if compared to the weekly participation of people without disability which stands at 34%. We need more – more resources, more consideration and more appreciation – for making our society truly inclusive.
Please note, this blog was written in collaboration with Bristol Street Versa to raise awareness for disability sports. To learn more about their products and initiatives, visit here.