Saturday, September 15, 2012

Paralympics: it´s not about medals, it´s about passion for life

I expected to use the staircase to get to my seat, but found that I was already at the stand. Row 5 on my ticket was only a few metres from the racetrack. I was completely overcome by the view of that huge arena – goose pimple effect! I was at the Olympic Stadium in East-London. It was my initial experience of the Paralympics 2012. A moment which was one of those “once in a life-time experiences”.

Britain made it great; it wanted to show the world that anything is possible! This may sound like an exaggeration. The application of scientific knowledge is very helpful for the disabled but it is not everything. Paralympians show us above all that they haven´t given up on life despite their disabilities. Their passion for life has enabled them to overcome not only physical limitations but also psychological barriers. “Only Paralympians really know how personal a sacrifice that is,” British Paralympian Tom Aggar said. He didn´t win any medal this summer – it´s not about medals, it´s about passion for life!

The adverts in London presented Great Britain Paralympians as superhuman. Looking at the athletes at the Olympic Stadium would appear to confirm that claim. “But not many with disabilities can mutate into this,” wrote David Aaronovitch in The Times (August 30). He claimed that 64% of the disabled had some experience of hostility or aggression. The London Paralympics, with the biggest TV audience ever, could help to shape the views of the majority in society. A life, however disabled, is worth living and should be protected and supported. Each human person has a super and original value.

To meet handicapped people is a transforming experience. “There is always that fear of offending a disabled person,” Tom Aggar said. We use to be apprehensive about it! However, when you overcome the first impression – the sentiment of pity – then you stop seeing the wheelchair and just see the person. This is also the point of our faith. The body and the spirit are united in a human being. Although the person – image of God – is often obscured, it is never completely lost. We need to learn to promote every life, to touch and develop the substantial human and divine value of each person, with medical care, education, sacraments in the Church and support in families. Sometimes it is also useful to learn to let go of the little things. Human life – God´s creation – is even stronger than any disability

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