“Any form of discrimination […] is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”
“To enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world”
These quotes show clearly that International Paralympic Committee and movement were born with the spirit of highlighting athlete’s achievements and not their disabilities.
Paralympics history started when a Jewish doctor flied from Hitler to the English shores in 1939. The prominent neurologist Dr. Gutmman obtained from the UK government a grant to continue his research in spinal injury, concluding that sports were the best way to recover patients’ strengh and self-esteem.
At the hospital of Stoke Mandeville he began a competition among British soldiers with injured spine cords from the WWII the day the year 1948 was opening a stronger Olympic London to an after-war world. Four years later, IWE -International Wheelchair Games- obtained the I with the participation of Dutch veterans and the recognition from the International Olympic Committee.
Rome 60 open the Paralympic Games to everybody -not just for veterans of war- but still only for those in wheelchairs. From Toronto 76 on, every disability became admissible booming the number of games and contestants.
One of the greatest milestones was Seoul 88, when the South-Koreans decided to host the Paralympics right after the Olympics and in the same venues, granting a spirit of equality and awareness that lead the International Paralympic Committee to formalize it in 2001.
Starting this 29th of August and celebrating human ability till September 9th Paralympic Games 2012 London will amaze the world even more than Olympics did. This Wednesday 29th at 20:30 pm GTM, like every Olympiad, the best sports people from all over the world gather to tell human body to run its fastest, jump its highest and resist its longest, reaching heights that seem to have no ceiling at all.
Everyday, millions of disabled people remind their bodies to forget what their missing and improve the performance of what they have, succeeding in life and inspiring everybody to dream higher and do better.
Paralympics 2012 will see 1,100 athletes trying to beat both Herculean goals at the same time. Not only do they push their body’s limits harder than anyone but they understand there are no limits at all: several disabled athletes have competed and coped in the Olympics.
Sports are divided according to the category of the athletes’ disabilities -ranging from amputee to cerebral palsy- since not every sport is suitable for any kind . Once categorized, the level of impairment groups the final teams and contestants.
The level of media coverage and audience interested in Paralympics has been rising since the massive broadcast and webcast from Sydney 2000. Paralympic swimming and wheelchair basketball are the most wanted ones -Thursday 30th are yours- but why not find about boccia or 5-a-side football in Paralympics 2012?