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Layla Anna-Lee

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Meet The Superhumans

Posted: 28/08/2012 00:00

"Forget everything you thought you knew about strength.

Forget everything you thought you knew about humans.

Meet the superhumans."

Channel 4 will be broadcasting the Paralympic games and have given it the most incredible build up with a marketing campaign that turns our discriminations upside down and titles nationally considered disability as 'superhuman'.

Team GB Paralympic athletes display their sporting skills alongside a montage of shocking scenes that depict how many are injured. A bomb in a war zone, a pregnant mother looking concerned, a car crash.

Almost every moment in the advert is admirable and can be paused to show image after image of true courage and inspiration. One particular shot that stuck in my mind was that of Jonny Coggan, a member of our Team GB wheelchair rugby team. Jonny took up the sport after breaking his neck in a car crash 11 years ago. In front of a plain black background Jonny sits on his chair to the side of a crushed car. A clip that depicts the moment that changed his life forever. In a bold statement of courage Jonny sits strong in his chair, unmoved and accepting of his story laid beside him. His expression tells us he is ready for his challenge.

The strength it must have taken to agree to pose for such an intense moment in the clip is comparable to nothing more than his desire to survive and win.

These athletes have already overcome many hurdles, already battled and most have already filled their families with pride. What they are about to achieve now is nothing short of awesome. I'm not talking about competing with the worlds greatest teams or winning medals - I'm talking about the change they alone are making to our attitudes.

The Paralympic games are the second largest sporting event in the world today - second only to the Olympics.

We Brits have a special sense of pride with these games too - unlike the Greek history linked with the Olympics the Paralympic birth place was Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire. In 1948 Dr Ludwig Guttman of Stoke Mandeville hospital, hosted a sports competition for the British WW2 veteran patients with spinal cord injuries. It slowly grew and London 2012 has been the first games where the Paralympics were integrated alongside the Olympics from the outset. Setting a precedent for all other games to follow.

The athletes alone are changing our sense of respect for the disabled, we are no longer looking at them as disabled. In fact many believe the Olympic athletes are not even comparable to the athletes of our Paralympic team. We are looking at the Paralympics as a harder task. A bigger battle. A fight to win respect, unification and Gold.

The Olympics truly were just a warm up.

 

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