I’m far more inspired by these photos from the Paralympics than I was by anything I saw from the Olympics. There’s something much more moving about athletes overcoming physical adversity to even participate let alone win their events.

Some highlights:

  • high jump with only one leg
  • table tennis with irregularly formed hands
  • archery with feet
  • handstands without hands
  • blind running

Particular interesting are the measures taken to empower these athletes, such as guide runners for the blind, specialized prosthetics, and sports specifically designed around their capabilities (such as goalball). Also of interest is the rather sophisticated system for describing capabilities and disability used to ensure that athletes compete primarily with those who have similar capabilities.

While writing this, I started wondering whether disabled was a word I could use here, and eventually decided it wasn’t. If this isn’t an example of how physical adversity due to accident, genetics, or birth defect doesn’t necessarily ‘disable’ someone, I don’t know what else could be. These people are clearly just differently abled to the rest of us.


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