My Big Mouth: Paralympics break down barriers to inspire a generation


The Paralympics confirm that ‘Inspire A Generation’ is no longer just the cliché slogan given to the Games, but an undeniable reality.

By Hayley Fox

With over six million watching at home and the crowd chanting his name relentlessly at the T44 100m final last night, Jonnie Peacock attempted to hush the 80,000 strong crowd for his concentration.

The 19-year-old powered through the sprint claiming a Paralympic record and adding to the gold rush, taking GB to 31 gold medals. That’s already two more than the Olympic games and there’s still two days to go.

Getting behind the Paralympics has been a struggle for some, compared to the Olympics. The combination of the less-glitzy opening ceremony and Channel 4’s regular ad breaks stirred some initial problems.

But this moment confirmed how much country has got behind the Games.

People have been taken on their own journey during the Paralympics. At first, I know I found myself focusing on the disability rather than the sport, as I’m sure many others did naturally.

But now I see them as incredible athletes, just like Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins are.

This week we’ve been shown how you really can do anything and embrace your situation; no matter what it is or at what stage in life it occurs.

Take swimming schoolboy Josef Craig born with Cerebral Palsy or sitting-volleyball’s Martine Wright, who lost her legs in the 7/7 bombings for example.

The general perception of disabled individuals has changed amid the Paralympics. Everyone has been wowed by the blade speed and the ‘murderball’ (wheelchair rugby), where Paralympians slam into each other like bumper cars.

Channel 4 has put on a brilliant after show every night with an ‘alternative’ review of the games, which some might say makes up for the annoying ad breaks. ‘The Last Leg with Adam Hills’ provides a humorous look back at the day’s events. Adam Hills’ sofa panel includes sports journalist Alex Brooker, who both joke about their prosthetic limbs.

The show’s twitter-based feature ‘#isitok’ sees the public ask any unanswered questions they about the Paralympics or behaving around those who do have a disability. For example @megaladybella asked earlier this week ‘#isitok to kneel down if you’re having a photo taken with Ellie Simmonds?’

These tongue-in-cheek queries, along with the sports, help to break down any underlying divides or awkwardness that may be seen to exist between the disabled and able-bodied in society.

The Paralympics have taken the word ‘inspirational’ to a new height. It’s an absolute confirmation that ‘Inspire A Generation’ is no longer just the horrendously cliché slogan given to the Games, but an undeniable reality.

By the way, they said it was okay otherwise both people wouldn’t be in the photo…

Follow us on @SW_Londoner


Related Articles