So Very Proud

The Olympics have been a boost to the flagging moral and mood of the Country, this great state of nations called the United Kingdom, well united most of the time. So I don’t want to take anything away from the Olympics and our own British athletes and what they have achieved, the organisers should be heralded as heroes and all those involved from the builders to Lord Coe should be held up as examples to us all.

I don’t like some quarters of the press always looking to pick fault, yes G4S were a bit of a disaster and our proud men and women of our Armed Forces had to step in, and yes it cost more than the original figure put forward, but in this time of recession it shouted loud and clear that we can celebrate what a wonderful Country we are fortunate to be part of. They have all done a splendid job and really the whole event is an example to young and old alike that anything is possible.

This brings me to my next point, the ‘whole’, as the games are only half way come Monday, as we then have the Paralympics and Paralympians to admire, as they demonstrate a more personal message. As the Olympics showed anything was possible for a nation if we just pull together and try, the Paralympics, for me, thunders with the roar of anything is possible for an individual despite what that hard teacher called ‘Life’ deals you. The Paralympics is where we see incredible sights of pure determination; pure examples of bloody-minded endurance of some terrible conditions, yet achieve world class feats of skill.

As with abled bodied counterparts, the Paralympians are the epitome of ‘nothing is impossible’, as it is time to finally dismiss the condescension and bias of some people with their insulting pity cutting false empathy. Instead they will shine for their ability and not for their disability, to raise in the consciousness of the nation that individuals, and their families, that live with the barriers associated with a disability of some form, can smash those barriers into dust with the power of fortitude, grit and willpower.

We saw a glimmer of what is to come with Oscar Pistorius, double amputee, ran for his Country in the 4 x 400m relay. The first time in history that this has ever occurred, and I was astonished, near to tears and so proud that someone could face what he has had to face and has qualified in his own right to run at the Olympics. Yes I was proud to see this historic event unfold and this will be the most memorable thing I have ever seen with regards to the Olympics. But as with the gun firing sent Oscar hurtling down the track into a historic first, I also felt this was the starting gun for the Paralympics on many levels.

These are my hopes for the Paralympics:

  1. That they have the same TV coverage as the Olympics have had. If anyone group of people deserve equal treatment and airtime the Paralympians do, how can we change attitude, more than this, how can we change society if we continue to hide people with disabilities from the public eye. So treat the Paralympians the same and give them the airtime they deserve, anything less will be shameful.
  2. That the Paralympians should be given the same state awards such as OBE’s, CBE’s, Knighthoods, etc., as their Olympian counterparts.
  3. Actually we should make every Paralympian medal winners a member of the House of Lords and by so doing really making a difference by putting disability issues into the heart of Government.
  4. That we highlight to our youth the positive examples there people are, they have gone beyond personal barriers that few can even start to understand and appreciate, and this is why I sincerely believe we should name our centres of academic endeavours (Universities & Colleges) after each one that wins a medal. They are worth so much more than just this but it’s a good start to honour them.
  5. That in every school our children are taught about the Paralympians, what they have had to conquer, what it has taken them personally to achieve the very heights of their sport. The Paralympians should be invited into every school so that our youth can be inspired, and this should be followed by schemes where our youth assist disabled people in their communities, such as gardening, housekeeping, etc. There should be schemes where our children also learn about successful entrepreneurs, who have also risen to the heights of commerce, paralleling our Paralympians achievements.

I also at this point want to raise an issue that has made me feel sickened, whoever in ATOS thought it was a good idea for them to sponsor the Paralympics should be taken out into the middle of the Olympic Stadium and flogged in from of every Paralympian and the entire 80,000 seated audience. It is an insult to anyone that is trying to live with the effects of a disability, it is a PR home goal and their disability blood stained money should be returned to them. They have gained their money by abusing disabled people, destroying lives by implementing a system that is overturned nearly 50% of the time on appeal – it’s just disgusting, stuff their money.

Having said this, I hope we honour our Paralympians and treat them as the equals to Olympians that they are, arguably the Paralympians have had to endure more to attain the medals they will be awarded. I am so proud of our Paralympians, from this country and those from other countries, so very proud.