The London 2012 Paralympics begin today, and nothing is getting us more excited than this viral video called “Meet the Superhumans.” It’s one of those videos that will move you and make you stand up and cheer for these disabled athletes. And dare we say, it makes these Games much more inspiring than the Olympics–and not because we feel sorry for these athletes. It’s because this video makes us realize how awesome they truly are.
Started in 1948, the Paralympics are designed for those athletes with physical impairments such as amputations, blindness, cerebral palsy and other mobility disabilities. This year’s Games will feature 4,200 athletes from 166 teams competing in 20 sports. Among them, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who just made history last month when he became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics.
Also on the U.S. Paralympics team is U.S. Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder who was blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan. He will be competing in swimming and says his daily training regimen has consisted of 4,000 yards a day at his local pool in Baltimore. His competition in the Games will mark the one-year anniversary of his injury:
I knew I was very fortunate to be in that hospital bed and not in a coffin in the ground. I’m going to show people that I’m not going to let this beat me. I’m not going to let blindness build a brick wall around me. I am going to find a way forward.
In total, the USA team features 227 disabled athletes, including 20 military veterans and service members who were injured during active duty.
The “Meet the Superhumans” video is designed to not only raise awareness of these Games, but it aims to give us a sense of amazement over what many of these athletes have had to deal with just to live day-to-day, let alone compete at a world-class level. It will leave you with a newfound respect for disabled athletes, because for the first time, they are profiled as truly “superhuman”, going against the odds and doing things that most people wouldn’t imagine a disable person can do–like, play a “violent” game of wheelchair rugby that’s been dubbed “Murderball.”
This is said to be the “breakout year” for the Paralympics, and if this video is even the least bit accurate in what we can expect, get ready to be moved.
Pistorius sums it up best:
I believe these Games are going to change peoples’ mindsets about disabilities. In the last two to three years I’ve seen a shift. For many years people have shunned disability, but I don’t have anything in life I’m not able to do. I don’t think of my disability, I think of my ability.
Take a look and be inspired: