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I'm constantly thinking "I wish I wrote more!" So, here I am writing more!
|Sometimes it is hard to believe that the Paralympic Games started life as a archery demonstration involving just 16 people. In fact, on 29th July, just 2 days after the Olympic Games commence, we will be able to celebrate the 64th anniversary of that, inauspicious, archery demonstration held at Stoke Mandeville hospital.
Now, 64 years later, we are rapidly heading towards the second biggest sporting event on the planet! Indeed, the Paralympic Games have always been a “big deal” for all athletes involved; they are the ultimate goal, the chance to shine and a chance for global glory. However, now, finally, realisation is dawning on the rest of the world; the Paralympic Games are coming and they are a “big deal”.
Exactly four years ago, I was preparing for my second Paralympic games in Beijing. It wasn’t the perfect run up to a games; even though I had qualified and secured my place way back in April, I was injured so I needed to prove my ability once more. You see, athletes at a Paralympic Games are of only the highest calibre. All athletes, whether they accept it or not, are competing for a shot at those coveted gold me. Therefore, because I was injured, I had to do another time-trial to make sure I was definitely up to scratch. Thankfully, I was and I well and truly secured my seat on the flight to Beijing.
Beijing 2008 was spectacular. The organising committee went all out to ensure that it would be a Games to remember; the greatest games to date, and it was! I remember thinking, in quite harsh terms, about how London 2012 would fair in comparison to the amazing scenes unfolding before my eyes. I convinced myself that there was no way Britain could equal China in putting on such an incredible show.
Four years later, I stand corrected. Britain do not need to equal China; we do not need to have sparkly lights in places you would not expect to see sparkly lights. No, all we need to do is go one step further in proving the worth and high standards of Paralympic sport. If the Beijing Paralympics 2008 was able to alter attitudes towards disabled people in China, which I believe it did, London 2012 can go one step further.
If every person in Britain watches or hears about even just one (hopefully more) aspect of the Paralympic Games, and is inspired by that snippet, London 2012 will have done its job and will be the greatest games ever!
I hope, in 50 days time, some lives are changed - and I don’t just mean those of the athletes!