Earlier this summer the world’s sporting elite fought it out in Rio at the Olympic Games. Now, while it was super exciting and I happened to be in a decent time zone for the 2nd half (I was in Cuba) which meant I could watch it live at a reasonable time of day, I have been looking forward to the return of the Paralympics so much more!
And just couple of days in and it isn’t failing to disappoint. Admittedly I didn’t really get to actually watch too much of the games in London but I have a pretty good reason for that. I was actually there as a gamesmaker!
This was me in all my Gamesmaker glory…
Yes that’s right I was one of the foam finger guys. For those who did not get the opportunity to attend London 2012, the foam finger wearing gamesmakers (officially titled wayfinders) were stationed outside the olympic Park and various Olympic venues with the sole purpose of helping everyone find their way to the venues and making sure everyone was having a great time along the way.
I’d never really done anything like this before but as I could not be part of the Games as an athlete this really was the next best thing. for 10 days I lived in the bubble that was the Paralympics soaking in the amazing atmosphere around the place. Even though I was based outside the park, my pass gave me access so that I could have a wander round and sit in the fan park and watch all the action. Not to mention the TVs in the break areas (plus all the free cadbury miniature heroes!) and all the high fives from the many, many children that came to watch.
We were also in a prime position for free tickets – yes that’s right free. The ticket sales people had a no re-sales policy and there were quite a lot of people that turned up with spare tickets for whatever reason and not being able to give them back decided that they would gift them to the Gamesmakers as a thank you for everyone’s hard work. So naturally the tickets were shared around and I think most people got to see at least one thing.
Yes well I was there! This was the session that my kindly gifted ticket was for and I am forever grateful to whoever gave it away because OMG this was some race!
I was also fortunate enough to have bought tickets to the swimming (well obviously it was my sport and I had a friend competing – she won Gold) and the Blind football. Now this was something else, I urge you to check it out at Rio. The goalkeepers are sighted but apart from that everyone is blind (they all wear blindfolds to ensure fairness). The ball has a bell in it so that the players can tell where it is and coaches bang on the posts of the goals to aid shooting. The hardest part for me was keeping quiet until the ball goes out of play or someone scores and then the crows erupts- unreal.
All in all the Paralympics were everything anyone ever said about them and utterly more impressive due to the obstacles each and every athlete had to overcome before they even got to the games. I know some people may disagree and I may be biased because of my experience in London but I love the Paralympic and the superhumans that compete there so much more than regular athletes.
and in the words of the Ghanaian athletes
Go, Go, Go, Go get it!
The paralympics are being broadcast on Channel 4 in the Uk and online here.