In the Toronto Globe and Mail, Canadian athlete Rick Hansen says the Paralympic Games have made great progress since he won six medals for wheelchair racing in 1980 and 1984.
He cites improvements in training, equipment and sponsorship, but acknowledges that “it’s going to be a difficult challenge” to bring broader acceptance to the Games. An excerpt from the interview with Sarah Hampson:
“Exposure is key,” he says. The sports are “not about fragility,” he says, cautioning me not to be romantic by thinking that a disabled person’s participation in sport is a way to restore faith in a broken body. “It’s just great competition.”
His philosophy is evident in everything he says: Dwell not on what you don’t have, or can’t have; focus on what you have and are able to do …
“Usually the biggest demon is not out there,” he says, gesturing to the world outside his window. “It’s what is inside your head.”
Hansen raised $26 million for spinal cord research and awareness through a 34-nation wheelchair tour shortly after his Paralympics victories, and will soon kick off a new global initiative with a target of $200 million.
Earlier posts here.
(Photo from Globe and Mail)