Written by (as pictured) Amy Rassier (University of North Dakota), Sarah Shaw (Northern Kentucky University), Colleen Lesch (University of Wisconsin‚ÄîEau Claire), Danielle Freiermuth (Bethel University),¬† Eugene Pak (The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina), and Tori Dahl (California Lutheran University).
During the last week of July and the first couple weeks in August, many Americans were glued to their TV sets cheering on their favorite athletes and teams in the 2012 Olympic Games. Now, one month later, the 2012 London Paralympic Games are getting all of the coverage in England, our most recently visited country.
It’s a privilege to be able to attend the Paralympic Games and inspiring to see so much coverage of the event in this part of the world, as growing up, we remember Michael Phelps earning eight gold medals in ‚Äô08 and Shaun White‚Äôs nearly perfect run on the half-pipe in winter, more than we remember hearing about equally talented athletes taking gold in the Paralympics.
Even on this trip, some of us were not planning on going to the Paralypmic Games until we got to London, where we were scrounging for tickets at the door. After spending the day in the Excel we now understand how much we have been missing all these years. The six of us were fortunate enough to be able to witness first-hand the inspiring nature of the Paralympic Games.
Excitement and energy were bursting out of the building as fans from all over the world cheered on their heroes. The grandstands were packed with school children waving flags and chanting, ‚ÄúGB, GB, GB!‚Äù and avid teammates and coaches yelling words of encouragement.
We were astounded by the sheer force of energy surrounding a sitting volleyball match between Morocco and Rwanda that was more intense than a football game, and captivated by a British versus Russian wheelchair fencing match. Our heads bobbed back and forth as one as we attempted to watch every move on each of four-simultaneous table tennis matches, afraid to miss even one tiny moment. We wanted to capture every event, every victory, every emotion, every story.
All in all our experience at the Paralympics was something that few people will ever have the pleasure of viewing firsthand, but we know this opportunity will impact us for the rest of our lives. Though it may seem like a small moment in time, this one day will stay with us for much longer.