Why do we care more about the Paralympics now than ever before?

A peak audience of 11.2 million tuned in to watch the opening ceremony of the Paralympics; a massive four times the number that tuned in to watch its last opening ceremony. But why do we care more now than ever before?

The existence of Martine Wright, a Paralympic athlete who lost both her legs in the 2005 London bombings is perhaps as good an example as any in terms of why over 14 million people, who previously didn’t pay much attention to the Paralympics, now do.

After all, what’s more heartwarming, uplifting and inspiring than the tale of triumph overcoming adversity? Of strength and persistence transcending misfortune? And, as is human nature, this is all the more so when it’s something that could happen to any one of us. As one of the presenters at the Paralympics opening ceremony said after speaking to Martine, “fate is what happens to us, destiny is what we do with it.”

But why do we care so much more than we did four years ago? And suddenly, it clicks. We are a generation that is being told we will be the first, ever, to live worse than our parents. We are a generation that is struggling to find jobs, to find housing, to fund the lifestyles that are more and more being hailed as imperative. We need this.

And so our fascination with the Paralympics? Undeniably at the least partially linked to one simple fact; that every story ever told centers around one truth; that good will overcome evil. That faith will triumph in the face of difficulty.

“The Olympic athletes created role models for non-disabled people…” said Ben Rushgrove – a sprinter who has cerebral palsy and is due to compete in the 100m and 200m during this years Paralympic games.

“…The Paralympics I’m expecting will create role models for both disabled and non-disabled people. If people are impressed by the running of Usain Bolt for instance they might say: “I could never be that quick.” But what about the achievements of an athlete with one leg for example?”

Paralympians breed hope.


Words by Alya Mooro

Edited by Natalia