Posts Tagged ‘2010 Paralympics’

The Paralympics: A Personal Legacy

Written by on November 20th, 2012 –

 

Carrying the Paralympic Torch in Vancouver, BC

Back in the summer just before the London 2012 Paralympics kicked off, my friend Andrea Bundon, who has competed in the Paralympics as a guide for a visually impaired skier and has a blog about disability sport Athletes First as part of her graduate student research project at UBC asked me to write an article for her about how my experience with the Paralympics in 2010 affected my life. I was only too happy to do it-I’ve learned so much about disability and sport through the thought-provoking posts and discussions that happen on her blog.

Here’s what I had to say:

I have been a diehard fan of the Olympics for years. The first time I became aware that there was another elite sporting event happening in the world called the Paralympics was during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. I was intrigued, but unfortunately, the Paralympics hardly merited a mention on the evening news. From that point on, I always wondered what went on there and if it was anything like the Olympics. Did they have Opening and Closing ceremonies? How many countries participated? What sports programs were there for people with disabilities and which ones would be included in Paralympic competition? And most importantly, who were these people and what were their stories? The best part about living in the host city of the 2010 Games was that I was finally be able to unravel the mystery.

 I was lucky enough to be given tickets to attend the Opening Ceremonies which turned out to be the highlight of the Paralympics for me. When I arrived at the stadium, the crowd of spectators was still riding the high of a fantastic Olympic Games and after a two week break, ready to show their national pride once again.

 What happened in that building that night was unforgettable. From the moment the very first team marched and rolled onto the field of play for the Parade of Athletes, a roar went up and everyone was on their feet clapping, cheering and waving their pompoms. This incredible level of enthusiasm was sustained until the very last team had made its way onto the field. It did not matter what country the athletes were from. From the second we welcomed them into the stadium, they were ours, each and every one of them. The outpouring of acceptance and goodwill that I witnessed moved me deeply.

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