Missing the Paralympics
Inspiration for us All
One of the greatest events in sports is going on right now,
and most of us in the USA don’t even know it.
Every two years, exactly two weeks after the ‘regular’ Olympic games are staged, the Paralympics are held at the same venues. The Paralympics are NOT the Special Olympics! Instead, these are competitions for physically impaired athletes. Each athlete literally has an incredibly inspirational story regarding how he or she became disabled, and the invariably long process to overcome it. These are serious athletes who are regular people, and many are military veterans. They are doing sports for the right reasons, not the money.
And they are really good at what they do! The Boston Marathon, for instance, has had to stagger their schedule to start the wheelchair athletes first, before the regular runners. Why? They are faster! Not some of them – almost all of them.
However, the U.S. media basically fails to cover the Paralympic games. The New York Times ran a great feature recently on a woman named Oksana Masters – a girl born deformed due to the Chernobyl disaster, adopted by an American, just won a bronze in XC skiing. NBC is running some stuff late at night – and it’s worth recording on your DVR. But you’re going to have to do some work to find anything, and that’s really too bad.
If you can watch just one thing, try to catch the men’s sled hockey team. They have won the last two Olympic golds, and the skill and camaraderie of the players is just remarkable. The game is surprisingly physical, and the way the players are equipped makes the game a super cool twist on regular hockey. Watch any video on the US team, especially the documentary Ice Warriors, and you’ll see why.
It would be a great thing to see the Paralympics go mainstream in our media, and in our country.