This week is very strange indeed. No switching on the television to see another Gold Medal for Team GB or watching Handball players go at each other like their lives depend on it.
The Olympics has come and gone. Those two weeks seemed to last an age but now feels like it’s been gone an indeterminable amount of time.
Now we wait and pray the legacy of these games is not lost. That the youth are inspired to take up sport for future success and health, and others chose to get involved through volunteering in many capacities to make this possible.
With this lull after the Olympics and the football season about to swing into action, I just hope that the public don’t forget about the upcoming Paralympics.
On Wednesday 22nd August, with just one week to go to the Games, four Flames will be lit at the summit of the highest peaks of the four UK nations.
The Flames will then be transferred to each nation’s capital city where they will each become the focus for a day of Paralympic celebrations. On Tuesday 28th August the Flames will be united in Stoke, Mandeville – the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement – to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame.
This will be the first time that the modern Paralympics will be solely hosted by the UK.
London has the capacity to take the Paralympics to another level in more ways than one. The ticket sales have already surpassed the records set in Beijing. Of the 2.5 million tickets available for sale, a staggering 2.2 million have already been sold.
Approximately 4200 athletes from 165 countries will compete in 20 different sports. All numbers bigger than previously.
Channel 4(UK) will broadcast the Games with over 150 hours of live television coverage, which will be the most extensive coverage of the Paralympics ever aired in the United Kingdom.
Team GB are due to have another extremely successful games, especially with home advantage. Just look at what was achieved with that advantage during the Olympics in the past two weeks.
I, probably like many of you who might be reading this, will not have a full knowledge of the nuances of the Paralympics. The information is out there though, you just have to find it. In fact you don’t even have to as I’ll post a few helpful links below. (We all like to learn right? Handball anyone?)
These individuals, these athletes, have not let a life changing moment or a “disability” from birth, stop them from being active, positive and competitive.
They work as hard if not harder than their Olympic compatriots, certainly with less funding. They surely deserve our respect and support as much as the Olympians.
I’m fortunate to have bought tickets for these Games, even more fortunate to be spending a day inside the Olympic Stadium watching the track and field events. I’m sure I’ll be inspired yet again and I hope viewers of every age will be too.
I’m not telling you to watch, (who am I to do that?) but please take 5 minutes out from your day and have a look. You might find yourself hooked.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/7586684.stm BBC have done a fantastic job of explaining the sports and categories here
http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/ Official Website
For a look at what to expect please watch this excellent video made by Channel 4. “Superhumans” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKTamH__xuQ