Thoughts on the Paralympics.
I just saw Jason Smith run 21.4 seconds for the 200m whereas Usain Bolt runs it in a fraction over 19 seconds. The basic difference is that Jason from N Ireland is almost blind with less than 10% vision. As he said afterwards "You male the most of what you've got!" He certainly did.
One person I spoke to said that the Paralympics is all about people pushing themselves round in wheelchairs and to some extent he's right, because that's what some Paralympians do. My counter argument was that it was like comparing an Austin A30 driver to a Formula One champions, because that's what the Paralympian chair racers are....they're the equivalent of Schumacher and the Hamilton. The big difference is that the paralympians have to use human motive power to make their wheels go round as opposed to highly tuned engines. They also have to have the tactical skills of a Mo Farrah.
Alex Zennardi who lost both legs in a terrible Formula One accident won two golds in the wheelchair road racing. The man never gives up!
We've also had paralympian swimmers with one arm, and in one case with no arms. We've had discus throwers, standing, sitting, able to rotate and in a fixed position. We've had amputees competing in nearly every event (actually I can't think of one they haven't), a special football competition for totally blind people. We've had a champion with cerebral palsy beating others far more theoretically able to control their movements in horse dressage. We had young Ellie with dwarfism winning 2 golds and a bronze against people much taller than her. She may have been smaller than the other competitors but she had the biggest cheer of the games so far!
We had the argument from Oscar Pretorius about the length of the blades used and he had a point, but when he lost the 100m to our guy Oscar was the first to congratulate the Brit in now uncertain terms.
If you asked anyone who they could name from previous Paralympics most would mention Tanni and probably Oscar. Both have become celebrities in their own right. Now there's Ellie, David Weir, Sarah Storey, Liz Johnson, Richard Whitehead. Too many to remember right now, but we will!
One other hero of the Paralympics is Channel 4 who cancelled their normal early evening programmes and gave over most of their day's programming to the Games. Their coverage has been superb and in many ways as good as the BBC in the ordinary Olympics
One last hero...Claire Balding and her team. Knowledgable and intelligent.
A great Games. Roll on Rio!
Blog on, Dudes!