The end of August saw the start of the 2012 Paralympics. I love the paralympics - I think even more than the main event itself....
I've spent my career working as a paediatric occupational therapist - and so have spent many years working with children and their families as they face developmental challenges or adjust to changes following illness or injury. Watching the talented athletes perform at these games reminds me so much of various children I was fortunate to know over the years - with cerebral palsy, congenital malformations, achrondroplasia and arthrogryposis.
The draw of the paralympics is two-fold for me. Firstly, I'm fascinated by the technical expertise that goes into wheelchair and prosthesis design (all a different league to what we see in the NHS), and by the functional adaptations that the athletes have made to overcome their physical limitations and perform at such a high level. Secondly, and I think an experience shared by any person who is able-bodied and has the opportunity to witness athletes with disabilities compete, I am awed, inspired and humbled that pretty much any athlete in any class of competition could probably run/swim rings around me.
So here was how I spent my weekend...
On Saturday my friend K and I saw the swimming heats, and then followed up yesterday with the evening session of the athletics. We saw both Team GB and Australian athletes win a range of silver and bronze medals during the session...until the last race (men's T54 5000m) when David Weir (Team GB) won gold.
It was a fabulous weekend, and we have still have more tickets for Wednesday's evening swimming finals...where I'm hoping to see an Australian gold medal (go Matt Cowdrey!!)