Essential Sports Nutrition

3/15/18

Must watch - the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games

Since last Friday, we have been watching the Winter Paralympics every night thanks to our DVR and coverage on NBCSports. And as you may know from my previous Olympic blogs, I LOVE the sport of cross country skiing and biathlon.



There are six sports at the 2018 Winter Paralympic games - Wheelchair curling, para ice hockey, para cross country skiing, para alpine skiing, para snowboard and para biathlon.

If you have the opportunity to watch/follow online, I strongly encourage you to check out these incredible athletes in action.


Athletes are a great source of inspiration and motivation because of their hard work ethic, dedication, ability to overcome the odds and exceptional mental and physical strength. It's unfortunate that in 2018, many athletes experience disability discrimination - especially at the Olympics! There's little coverage, discussion or promotion of the 2018 Winter Paralympic games and I can't think of a more inspiring group of athletes to showcase in the media (especially with all of the negative press that is currently going on in the media).


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Although it's incredible to see these athletes in action, we must remember that the world doesn't cater to disabled individuals as it does to able-bodied individuals. It can be very difficult and costly for a disabled individual to safely and easily find accessible ways to to travel/commute, not to mention the added cost, time and energy needed to train for and prepare for the Olympic Games. Disabled athletes may find it difficult  to access (and afford) coaching, therapy, gear, clothing, medical care and travel, compared to an able-bodied athlete.


The beautiful thing about sport is that it doesn't discriminate. Being involved in a sport can improve health, well-being, self-esteem, confidence and quality of life, especially among those with a disability. Sport shows us that there is ability within a disability. 


The 2018 Winter Paralympic games shows us that there are no barriers to sport participation and that no disability can keep an athlete from pursuing his/her athletic goals and dreams. We must encourage, support and promote athletes with disabilities and think of the disabled athlete as nothing more or less than the able-bodied athletes. Every athlete at the 2018 Winter Games is a human and should be treated with kindness, respect, admiration and support.

Over the past week, I have watched blind alpine skiers fly down the mountain with trust from their guide, biathlon athletes ski and shoot with missing limbs, snowboarders with a missing arm race against one another with no fear and hockey players slide across the ice with tremendous strength, grit and tenacity. And then there are the curlers....while I still don't understand the sport, it's still a sport I am watching because I support the paralympic athletes. 


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The next time you find yourself complaining about something meaningless, stressing over something small or worrying about what could have/should have been, consider the paralympic athletes who have chosen to rise up from hardship with focus, determination and a positive, can-do mindset.

Paralympic athletes push the limits as to what is humanly possibly by the human body.
These athletes are living life to the fullest because they are not willing to settle for average.
Paralympic athletes have goals and they don't let what could have been stop them from reaching their full abilities, while having a meaningful life.
These athletes are overcoming disabilities in order to live a very productive, quality and happy life, all while inspiring others in the process. 

We must remember that these athletes are human and regardless of the physical or mental impairment, we must treat them with the same respect, notoriety, attention and enthusiasm as able-body athletes.