July WI meeting – the Paralympics

July’s meeting saw Sarah, the Swimming Team Manager for the Paralympic Game and Anna who works for the Paralympics committee talk to us about the Paralympics as a whole as with a focus on swimming as well.

They both work on selecting and entering the GB team. They talked about bringing the recognition the athletes who compete in the Paralympics they deserve. It is also a great opportunity to raise the profiles of the athletes as well as the sports they compete in as well, especially as channel 4 will have dedicated coverage to it  throughout the games.

Both the Olympics and Paralympics focus on inspiring others and making the country proud. The home nation also bring home more medals than usual, and experiencing the atmosphere at an event myself I can tell you they certainly cheer very loudly!

The Paralympics started in 1948 and there is a lot of talk of it coming home as it started in the UK at Stoke Mandeville for WWII veterans so it is great to see it back in London for 2012.

What I found really interesting is the fact that athletes are matched by ability and not disability. This process is devised by doctors and physiotherapists to work out the classifications.

Sarah and Anna also talked about the athletes village and how it feel like one massive family to the point when a medal winner comes in the the food hall everyone starts clapping. The athletes also have to be in their kit at all times because of sponsorship deals.

I went to the taekwondo at the Excel centre on the 9 August and loved it. The atmosphere was incredible. I also saw Jade Jones in her quarter and semi finals before she then went on to win gold that evening – brilliant!

The whole atmosphere in London has been great, and from the toga party me and my housemates held for the opening ceremony to watching the cycle race through Putney to seeing all of the success I have loved having the Olympics in London and am looking forward to the Paralympics starting on the 9 September.

Image sources:

Paralympic poster via The London 2012 shop by Bob & Roberta Smith

Go poster via The London 2012 shop by Martin Craig-Martin

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