Meet the Superhumansby Nathan Casey / 27.08.2012
I have to admit I’m more excited about the Paralympics than I’ve ever been for the regular/normal/ordinary Olympics. Maybe it’s because of the cool ad campaign for the Paras, the Public Enemy track banging while the Paralympians look all surly on-screen, Murderball wheelchairs slamming into each other, and the blades that Oscar Pistorius runs on look a bit like alien legs… and that’s awesome.
Or maybe it’s because regular, normal and ordinary is a bit boring.
A while back I had a beer with a marathon runner. He had lost his leg in a motorbike accident and what would make most people shrivel up under the bedsheets and bemoan their potential invalidity didn’t stop him from sucking it up and just getting on with his life.
He told me that after running for tons of hours it was his ‘good’ leg that ached and gave him gyp. His lost limb, as you’d expect, didn’t give him any problems at all. He even mentioned that it would be a lot easier if he had two prosthetics instead of only the one.
Which kind of casts doubt on the old adage: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
According to all the sci-fi flicks we’ll soon be replacing our ears with mobile phones and exchanging our eyeballs for digital Google thingies that can upload holiday snaps to Facebook and zoom in like Superman. It won’t be long before we’re chopping off our arms so they can be replaced with bionic ones. And when all this ramps up we’ll be jostling for mega-legs that run faster, jump higher and turn footballs into cannonballs.
A couple of years back the Olympic committee didn’t want ol’ Ozzie Pistorius to compete with the norms, saying his blades gave him an unfair advantage. Although this was subsequently deemed untrue, maybe in a few decades’ time it’ll be the Paralympians that break all the records.
But the Paralympics is about more than sporting achievement, and in my mind is more important than the regular/normal/ordinary/boring Olympics. The Paralympics has the power to inspire not just the disabled, but every one of us. In fact, it should make the rest of us feel shame for every time we gripe about the weather or our boss or anything inconsequential for that matter.
The boring Olympics might highlight the physical triumphs of exceptional men and women, but the Paralympics does more – it showcases the triumphs of the spirit, and the strength of the soul.