The effort and accomplishment of Para-olympians – world-class athletes with a range of disabilities – are as admirable, and should be as widely exalted, as the effort and achievement of Olympians.
Indeed,Para-olympians face and surmount challenges that are in addition to the challenges and struggles they share with Olympians.
I am an ardent admirer ofPara-olympians, humbled with their mental and emotional fortitude – and their strength of virtue – all which contribute to the noble example they set for all of us.
People with disabilities are required to be champions everyday as they strive to live lives that most of us take for granted.
Think … think real hard … about facing tomorrow without the use of your legs or your arms, or impaired vision, or greatly limited muscle power. Then think … think real hard … about, with these disabilities, competing in running, swimming, basketball, skiing, sailing, shooting, throwing events, ice hockey … or any one of scores of events across 28 areas of Paralympic sport.
I hope such reflection causes you to be thankful, and to marvel at and esteem, and to hold them in the highest regard.
The first Summer Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960. Sixteen years later, the Winter Paralympic Games made their debut.
In the most recent Winter Paralympic Games, in Sochi, Russia, 700 Para-olympians from 45 nations – both participation records – competed across 72 events in six sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboarding (it was the first Paralympics in which snowboarding was contested), and wheelchair curling.
Other than the Olympic games, the Paralympics are the largest international sporting event in the world.
Nothing less than thrilling and awe-inspiring was the competition at the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games – as it will be at the Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018.
What Paralympic sports would you like to see in Pyeongchang?
Please let me know on Twitter @JimCraigUSA.