Aug

14

The Paralympics: A Year On


Members of the ParalympicsGB team - Image © onEditionThis time last year the Paralympics was in full swing; tears of joy were shed, records were broken and athletes basked in the glow of their gleaming medals.

Paralympic fever grasped Britain and inspire they did. But when the last ball was kicked and the last length was swum, when the last medal was given and the last firework exploded: what legacy was left by the Paralympics?

The 2012 Paralympics was the most watched in the history of the games, which is an immense leap. In a world where popularity contests dictate everything from which sports team you are chosen for at school, to who will be elected to run the country, it is fantastic that the Paralympics has taken its rightful place alongside the Olympics on the podium.

But the Paralympics has a much bigger purpose than winning a popularity contest. Its job is to raise awareness of disability and to help to create a more supportive and better-equipped world for those with disabilities. There were nine athletes with a learning disability representing Great Britain, and the Paralympics brought much-needed attention to the conditions of people with intellectual disabilities.

Attitudes and perceptions have improved, but we now need genuine social inclusion for people with a disability. That means better facilities, truly equal opportunities and trying to see the world as they do and adapting it accordingly.

International Paralympic Committee president, Sir Philip Craven, captured the essence of the Paralympic legacy, saying, “These Games have changed us all forever.”

The Paralympic torch may be out, but we need to keep the flame burning if we want to make positive changes for disabled people.

by Natasha Bolton, Marketing and Events Intern

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