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What inspires you?

Chris_ScopeChris_Scope Posts: 695Member Pioneering
edited September 2016 in Disabled people

Today sees a number of young British para-athletes make their Paralympic debuts, such as athletics hopefuls Georgina Hermitage and Sophie Hahn, and swimmer Ellie Robinson. Many of these were inspired to follow their dreams by Team GB’s successes in London 2012, with Ellie Robinson counting her now teammate Ellie Simmons amongst her inspirations.

In that vein, we’d love to hear about your own inspirations, sporting or otherwise. What people or events have inspired you to take action in your life, to follow a dream or to take a different course than the one you were following?

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  • MikeBroderickMikeBroderick Posts: 234Member Courageous
    Hi Chris:
    I wrote an article for my blog about this yesterday (updated today) - about the importance of sports in my life, and how great I think the Paralympics are. It's my hope that more people - especially my fellow Americans - will watch them this year.

    If it's ok, I'd like to post an excerpt. Thanks.


    The Rio 2016 Paralympics are a Must Watch (An Excerpt)

                                                                      By Mike Broderick

    And then I thought I would give the Paralympics a try – not knowing what to expect. I was intrigued and a bit excited, but not expecting too much. I was wondering if I’d be disappointed.

    And then I was blown away again.

    I watched in astonishment as Chinese swimmer He Junquan blazed through the pool with no arms to win 4 Gold Medals. (And it wasn’t his disability per se that had impressed me. When I was 10 years old, I’d spent the better part of 3 months in the hospital next to a boy named Jorge from Portugal who had no arms. He was a funny, kind, mischievous kid who could draw incredibly well using just his toes, some crayons, and a blank sheet of paper.)

    To this day, nearly 12 years later, I still remember He Junquan’s incredible athleticism. And I still marvel that he had had the strength and body control to not only generate Gold Medal-winning-speed, but also to even be able to get his mouth out of the water to breathe while he swam.

    In that Paralympics, I also remember cheering for Team USA’s Michael Prout a young guy from back home in western Massachusetts (West Springfield, or “West-side”, as we call it) very near to where I grew up, as he won a Gold and a Bronze in the pool. And I remember thinking: “Here I am 3,000 plus miles away from home watching a kid, who grew up 15 minutes from me, win a medal for his country, and my country-men can’t even see it.”

    The Paralympics were another binge-watch of incredible sporting achievements – that all stood on their own as pure sport – with the true excitement not necessarily in the compelling back stories of the athletes, but rather in what happened on the court, in the water, on the field, and between the lines.

    Subsequent Paralympics have generated other great moments that I will never forget:

    • Seeing Team GB’s then 13-year-old swimming sensation Ellie Simmonds fly to two Gold Medals at the Beijing Paralympics;
    • Watching Wheelchair Basketball and “Murderball” with my wife and rooting for Team USA and Team GB. (Murderball: the insane car crash derby that is Wheelchair Rugby. Made famous in the 2005 documentary “Murderball”.); and
    • Screaming my head off in our kitchen as I watched Team GB’s Richard Whitehead storm from the back end of the pack, his prosthetic blades swishing and grinding on the rain-soaked London track, before steaming across the tape – arms raised in a “Welcome to the Gun Show” pose – to win the 200 Meter T42 Gold in World Record time. It was absolutely thrilling, and it is one of my all-time favorite sporting moments.

    The skill level of the Paralympians surprized me. It impressed me.

    And it was a revelation for me as an American to learn that the Team GB Paralympians are feted just like the Team GB Olympians. (A right and proper parity befitting the spiritual home of the Paralympics.)

    They are treated like national heroes, and many are celebrities and household names, with several garnering Royal Honours, including Knighthoods and Damehoods.

    They are even promoted as “The Superhumans” by UK Paralympic Broadcaster Channel 4 – a hyperbolic but successful “all in” approach to promoting the athletes and the Games. (In a forthcoming article, I’ll discuss my thoughts on the impact of the Paralympics and this branding on societal views of disability.)

    If you love sports, if you love the Olympics, if you are awed by incredible skill, focus, athleticism, and the determination to deliver on a four-year dream, watch the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

    And prepare to be amazed.


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