Paralympics, that’s where our heroes go

The Paralympics are in full swing, but nobody here in the U.S. talks about it. Since days I look at the headlines on different news websites, and there is hardly any mentioning of it.

How dare we ignore them the way we do. They are certainly Superhumans, and we don’t give them the respect they deserve. They overcome obstacles I cannot even begin to imagine. The medal count -the numbers that are oh so important to all of us during the Olympic games – is nowhere to be seen. Instead, we get suffocated with more headlines and old news about The Donald and Mrs. Clinton. Day after day, same old, same old! The ones who deserve headlines, guess what? Hardly anything.

The word “Paralympics” comes from the Greek word “para” (side by side or alongside). It means the Paralympics are the parallel games to the Olympics and illustrates how the two movements exist side-by-side.

Athletes with disabilities did compete in the Olympic Games prior to the advent of the Paralympics. The first athlete to do so was German American gymnast George Eyser in 1904, who had one artificial leg. Hungarian Karoly Takacs competed in shooting events in both the1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics. He was a right-arm amputee and could shoot left-handed. Another disabled athlete to appear in the Olympics prior to the Paralympic Games was Lis Hartel, a Danish equestrian athlete who had contracted polio in 1943 and won a silver medal in the dressage event.

The first organized athletic day for disabled athletes that coincided with the Olympic Games took place on the day of the opening of the1948 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. Jewish-German born Dr. Ludwig Guttmann of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, who had been helped to flee Nazi Germany by the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) in 1939, hosted a sports competition for British World War II veteran patients with spinal cord injuries. The first games were called the 1948 International Wheelchair Games, and were intended to coincide with the 1948 Olympics. Dr. Guttman’s aim was to create an elite sports competition for people with disabilities that would be equivalent to the Olympic Games.The games were held again at the same location in 1952, and Dutch and Israeli veterans took part alongside the British, making it the first international competition of its kind. These early competitions, also known as the Stoke Mandeville Games, have been described as the precursors of the Paralympics Games. (Source Wikipidia)

2,347 is the number o f gold, silver and bronze medals that will be awarded to the athletes competing in the Paralympics Games and we ignore them. 53 athletes from the United States have won medals so far, and we don’t even bother to get to know them. 19 gold, 18 silver and 16 bronze medals are not worth talking about?

How can we not celebrate their accomplishment the way we do during the Olympic games? Why are the events and competitions not on a local TV station? Are they not good enough? We, the United States of America, have seven ex-military athletes competing in Rio, and we thank them for their service by ignoring them?

Hey media, wake up and pay attention and spread the news. “We are not as uninterested and superficial as you think we are.”

Rio 2016 Paralympics Games

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