It’s feeling like autumn. Schools have started. The Olympic Games might seem like a distant memory. But oh no, my friend. We aren’t done yet. Some of the most incredible athletic competitions are still happening at the 2016 Paralympic Games. I promise it will be worth your time to watch, and to share these games with your kids (if you have any doubt as to what your kids might get out of seeing the Paralympic athletes in action, check out this post). Records are being set in ticket sales as well as in the sports arenas.
Last week Robin Brooks told us about his experience watching the Paralympic Games in person (this amputee is definitely jealous). There is a great tutorial on his post about how Paralympic sports are classified. Go back and catch it if you missed it.
There are several websites just chock full of videos from some of the inspiring sports that have already taken place, so you haven’t really “missed” anything. The best place to start would be Paralympic.org. You can find out where to watch on this page, no matter where you live in the world. Every day there are updates on what sports were played and which countries earned medals. Does your family love a specific sport? There are videos of all the events on this website. I challenge you to click on some you are not familiar with and be amazed.
Next head over to TeamUSA.org. This website is also full of video highlights, medal counts, and daily recaps of all the current competitions. There is something for every interest as 4,350 athletes from 160 countries compete in 22 different sports.
As adaptive equipment improves so rapidly (see post here) and international television coverage increases, the world is finally realizing the value of tuning in to adaptive sports competitions. These are hardcore athletes. Just like the Olympic athletes who recently flew home from Rio. These are not people who need pity or sympathy. They are folks who live in bodies that present some challenges, and they push them to the limit anyway. Sometimes even surpassing their able-bodied counterparts.
In fact, if you are not tuned into the Paralympic twitter feed or facebook page (and you should be!) you might have missed one interesting race from Sunday. In an incredible turn of events, the top FOUR finishers of the 1500M adaptive race finished with times ahead of the gold medalist in the 1500M regular Olympics a month ago. That means four runners in these adaptive games ran faster than the fastest guy at the Olympics in this specific race. Four Paralympic runners would have beat the Olympic medalist to the gold.
And before you assume they were running on Cheetah blades (which I admit I assumed), these guys had no adaptive equipment on their legs. They are blind. This is the kind of excitement you are missing if you let these Paralympic Games pass you by.
Gather the kids and jump online. Educate yourself and those curious little minds that live in your house about all the sports available in the adaptive world. Then pull up some events and cheer for your favorite athletes. The Paralympic Opening Ceremonies in Rio were spectacular. Make sure you catch the closing ceremonies in just a few days.