The Paralympics have come to a close because all good things have to come to an end. Probably unlike any games before the wider sports fan recognised all of the athletes as just that Athletes who have dedicated hours of their lives to reach the Paralympic games and the peak in their chosen discipline.
The reaction of Jody Cundy when disqualified in the cycling and Oscar Pistorious when pipped in the 200m final by Alan Oliviera showed that these athletes really do care and it means a lot to be the best in the world, just as it does with any top athlete in any sport.
The great thing about the Paralympics was everyone saw beyond colour, religion, conflicts and disabilities, that is what made them so magical. Hopefully these games will have enabled people to look passed people’s disability and see the person, the athlete. Hopefully sports fans have connected with what these athletes can do and focus on that.
There was a tweet on the Final Leg in their section on whether it was OK to ask this question, where a woman asked if she should stop her children putting their arms inside their jumpers as they played sport in the garden and declared they were Paralympians. Hopefully the answer is “no,” as the Games have obviously had an impact on these children and they will remember them for many years to come, and if that is a positive memory which it would appear it is as they want to be Paralympians as they have been touched by them then that has to be good.
I for one attended the Stoke Mandeville Games in the 1970’s and they had a profound effect on me as a young sports-loving academic-hating boy, and that is why I have continued to follow similar sporting events and lend support where possible.
The British bid promised a Games that would influence a generation and the signs are that any child who attended or watched these Paralympic Games will ever forget them, and if that means that it changes the way they view disability and view it more as differently abled then the legacy of these games will indeed be tremendous.