Published Wednesday, 29 August 2012
There were some great performances by the likes of Michael Phelps and Ireland's own Katie Taylor but now is the turn of the Paralympians.
I always think the Paralympic Games get a raw deal compared with the Olympics. One analogy of "The Games" as a whole is there is the main party (this being the Olympics itself) followed by the hangover (the period when people can reflect on what they have seen before quickly forgetting) and finally that party you promised you would go to but forgot about and now not really that keen on (this being the Paralympics).
Compared to past events however, this year there seems to be a bit more of a buzz. Whether that is because the Paralympics are in London I don't know but people seem more interested and excited about it and why shouldn't they be? The Paralympics are brilliant.
I am sure the vast majority of people have seen the jaw dropping adverts promoting the event and have heard the story of Dr Ludwig Guttmann and his work at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital but if you haven't I urge you to both watch the adverts and read about Guttmann's work as both are truly amazing.
The television and web advertisements in particular have been phenomenal in capturing the drama, emotion and spirit of the athletes.
It is easy to say it but the athletes competing in the Paralympic Games truly are superhuman.
The achievements of these athletes cannot be understated and it may be cliché but in my eyes the athletes participating are nothing short of inspirational. I think of the likes of Usain Bolt and his achievements and then I think of his Paralympic counterpart in Oscar Pistorius and I can't help but think "wow, if I were faced with that set of circumstances there is no way I could do that".
It takes a special type of person with an extraordinary drive to become a world-class athlete. Factor in that extra hurdle many Paralympians must overcome in order to achieve this and it leaves you with a great sense of appreciation for both their sporting prowess and personality.
There is another reason other than the athletes that make the Paralympics often a greater spectacle than the Olympics, simply put some of the events are that bit more exciting. For those of you who haven't seen it you should check out wheelchair rugby it is incredible and well worth a watch (though maybe if you enjoyed the dressage events this one isn't for you as it's a little bit more aggressive than you might be used to).
All in all the Paralympics will not only live up to the expectations of its elder sibling but could well exceed them. The strap line attached to this year's Paralympics is "Inspire a Generation".
Hopefully this message will be taken on board and future generations of Paralympic athletes will follow in the foot steps of the remarkable super-humans of London 2012.
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