The athletes who participate in the Paralympics challenge our perceptions about what a “normal” person looks like or is capable of. When people like me – someone who does not interact frequently with people who have so-called disabilities – watch the para-athletes in action, we are amazed. The British broadcaster of the 2012 Paralympics in London, Channel 4, emphasized that point by creating the fantastic promotional video called “Meet the Superhumans.”
By the time Rio rolled around in 2016, running from September 7 to 16, the mindset towards the Paralympics was shifting – that athletes were not superhuman, but they were people like the rest of us who could develop their talents, sometimes up to world-class levels. Channel 4 captured that sentiment in a promotional video called “Yes, I can!”
If you watched the Rio Paralympics, you were likely amazed by people who appear relatively disabled because they can’t see or hear, are missing a limb or two, or are paralyzed in parts of their bodies, for example. But amazing is becoming the new normal. By the time Tokyo 2020 rolls around, perhaps we won’t be amazed at the overcoming of disability – we will be amazed at the athleticism and competitiveness.
For now, here are stories from the 2016 Rio Paralympics, which frankly, amazed me.
- The Fantastic Jefinho: The Blind Visionary of Five-Aside Football
- Wheelchair Tennis Champion Dylan Alcott: A Role Model for Tokyo2020 Wannabes
- Iran’s Paralympian Morteza Mehrzadselakjani: The Eight-foot Tall Giant Transformed by Sport, Now an International Star
- The Indomitable Tatyana McFadden: From Walking on her Hands to Walking on Top of the World
- Out of the Ultimately Successful Rio Paralympics Emerges a Hometown Hero and Legend, Daniel Dias
- Paralympian Visually Impaired Runners Ran Faster Than Olympian Runners in the 1,500: How is that Possible?
- Paralympics Table Tennis Player Ibrahim Hamadtou: “Nothing is Impossible”