The Rio Olympics were great but the Paralympics are starting now and they should be amazing!
Do you think Mo Farah is an incredible athlete? His Wikipedia page says he is “The most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, he is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m.” But what about David Weir? He won gold medals in the T54 (which is the category for his disability) in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon – yes, the marathon, which he had to do after he had competed in all of the other races! He is going to attempt to win 5 gold medals in Rio!!!
I was fortunate enough to see David Weir win one of his 4 gold medals in the wheelchair athletics at the London Paralympics in 2012 as well as Will Bayley win the silver medal in the table tennis. Not only are the Paralympians phenomenal athletes, they have extraordinary back stories about the disabilities that they have had to overcome. They are inspiring. They are superhumans. To me, they are superheroes.
ParalympicsGB won 34 gold medals at London 2012. Some of our women who won gold then were Sarah Storey (cycling), Ellie Simmonds (swimming), Hannah Cockroft (athletics) and Sophie Christiansen (equestrian).
Hannah Cockroft (photo by Gooch Barard, taken from Wikipedia under Creative Commons 2.0)
If you want to see jaw-dropping sport, watch the Paralympics: amputee runners, high-jumpers and long-jumpers; wheelchair rugby (nicknamed murder ball because it’s so physical); visually-impaired runners who have a sighted guide running alongside them and swimming relays with competitors who have mixed disabilities so you have no idea who will win – so exciting! – are just some of the delights that are in store for us. If you don’t believe how thrilling Paralympic sport can be, watch this – Richard Whitehead in London 2012! Or how about Jonnie Peacock?
I’m pleased to say that Channel 4 is showing the Paralympic Games again (they did such a brilliant job in 2012) and The Last Leg, which is a light-hearted look at the Games and was first broadcast during the London Paralympics, is returning too. James Corden’s Ode to the Rio Paralympics (below) is wonderful. 🙂