194 years ago today

8 September 2016

…. Prince Dom Pedro I (nicknamed “the Liberator”) declared Brazil’s independence and tonight marks another new dawn in Brazil’s history. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games opening ceremony has taken place and, for regular readers, you’ll know that the Olympic Games featured here on the FWL blog and the Paralympics will be no different. However, the Paralympics will bring a new perspective to everyone in Brazil and around the globe by showing that the human spirit shows no limits. Over the next twelve days, through the performances of Paralympians, we will see the true meaning of sport and the true definition of ability.

In years gone by, my working world was very much ‘in the field’. The commentators on the opening ceremony coverage have been talking about Boccia, a new sport in the Paralympics. Having worked with people with physical and learning difficulties, I know about Boccia and in fact, know many people who participate/have participated in what is known as the Special Olympics.

Sport inspires individuals and transforms communities, countries and continents, as shown by the London Games in 2012. This has most certainly ‘left a legacy’ for the future, which was (of course) one of the missions of the Games. Surprise, inspiration and excitement is always evident in the Olympics and Paralympics with those performing often becoming role models in the sporting world. Watching the news this morning, a local lady competing in Rio who had her leg amputated at nine years of age featured in the headlines. The Paralympics for me always hold more stories, particularly of adversity, including athletes performing for Team GB who were injured in the 9-11 attacks and during military service.

History can be made in so many ways. Your values tell people what you stand for and most importantly, who you are. People can make their mark for both positive and negative reasons in society. What will you be remembered for? In 196 years, what will someone say about you? Owt or nowt?

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