Wow, you should have seen the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony yesterday. It blew me away! It was so inspiring, so flipping awesome.
What's that you say? You live in America and couldn't watch (or didn't even know it was happening) because although NBC have the rights they aren't showing it (see update below), despite the USA fielding the third largest team at the Paralympics (223 athletes)?
Wanna watch it? You are some of the highllights (yes, the Ceremony opened with Stephen Hawking!) it took us from Shakespeare to Ian Dury, via Newton...and an acknowledgement that it rains a bit in the UK ;) It "shined a light on the beautiful diversity of humanity":
And here's the WHOLE ceremony (yes, you can fast forward through the 166 countries coming in if you really want to):
If you read my blog, you'll have seen my rant about the Paralympics, the second largest sporting event in the world, not being shown AT ALL in the USA. Well, since then NBC seems to have relented, perhaps because of all the petitions.....now, of the whole 11 days of world-class, utterly amazing triumphs of humankind, they're going to spoil us with...........wait for it, a whole 5 and a half hours of coverage, as highlight shows, not on the main channel, but on the Sports Network channel, and of this 1.5 hours of it will be a whole week after the Paralympics finish. Stunning isn't it. Oh sorry, I meant pretty disgusting and disappointing actually.
I suppose something is better than nothing? Hmmm. NBC have pointed out this is an improvement on the amount of coverage since the Bejing Paralympics. Hmmmmmm.
As I've said before, according to Government statistics, 1 in 5 Americans have some sort of disability.....but forget that fact as a reason why the Paralympics should be shown, it ISN'T just for people with disabilities.....this is ALL ABOUT ABILITY........this is sport at its world-class best.
There are ways you can be watching, and I'll let you know how in a moment, and I've been watching the Opening Ceremony and some of Day 1 with my kids. None of us have a physical disability, but I've been loving being able to talk to my kids about what we're watching, answer their sometimes wonderfully blunt questions about some of the Paralymians and their disabilities, and have been overjoyed that these kids can watch the sport for what it is - exciting, inspiring, amazing.....not watching it in a patronising way, in a "ooh aren't they doing well inspite of their cerebal palsy/amputations/shorter limbs etc" but just "wow, did you see how fast they went" etc.
Americans and especially American kids (our next generation and hopefully better generation for being more accepting and respectful of EVERYBODY) should be able to watch these Paralympics.
Melchett (my youngest, who's 10) has always been the child who pointed (sometimes to my intense embarrasment) and asked questions about anything and everything. I love her for this, she has such an innocence and an incredibly inquisitive mind. I am also very thankful that both my girls have an incredible desire for everyone to be treated fairly (I don't know if I'm describing this well). They ALWAYS root for the underdog, they ALWAYS seem to find the 'different' kids, the sometimes loners or wallflowers, or simply those who are new to situations, and make them their friends. They ALWAYS get annoyed at injustice in the world (Goth Child particularly, being 15 now, is a huge advocate for equal rights for EVERYBODY). Sorry, I'm rambling......my point is Melchett started last night with "what's wrong with that one, he looks normal" (ooops, yes I did cringe, the PC in me sometimes forgets she's just 10 and is allowed to ask questions and be blunt and from this both of us have had some of our greatest learning experiences). It's been nice to talk with my kids that sometimes you can't see a disability. Goth Child was very quick to point out "you shouldn't say 'wrong', nothing's 'wrong', they're just 'different' from you, we're all 'different' in some way". I'm trying to get through to them that one of the things the Paralympics shows us is it's all about ability, you might not be able to do something someone else can, but you can do something.
Look, for example at your first gold medallist today America:
(screencap of www.jessicalong.com's website - a fab website check it out!)
I tell you, Jessica is a total inspiration - born in Siberia and adopted from an orphanage at 13 months, she's been brought up in Baltimore. She was born with fibular hemimelia so without fibulas, ankles, feet and had further amputation to enable prosthetic limbs as a child. One of 6 kids, her parents made sure they all stayed active. Do you remember how fired up America got about Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps etc..................Jessica should be JUST as well known, she holds the World records in 13 Paralympic events, and since the 2004 Athens Games she's won 7 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze medals, and at the London 2012 Paralympics she's swimming in 7 individual events and 2 relays...............and as I say, she's just won Team USA's first gold medal in the S8 100m butterfly, an awesome race!
OK, so how can you watch the Paralympics in the USA.....various ways (excluding cough cough using a vpn tunnel like Strong VPN should you want to cough cough):
- the Paralympic Sport TV channel on youtube
- the official Paralympics website livestreaming (and tons of other stuff), they're showing 780 hours of the Games on various channels on the website: www.paralympics.org
And you might want to try these for more info. about the Team USA Paralympians during the Games (yes, sorry I'm concentrating on Team USA here, even though I mainly support Team GB, because America doesn't have it easy to find things out due to the lack of mainstream coverage):
Team USA Paralympics website (tons of stuff and news here)
Team USA Paralympians twitter account (very useful for finding out what's going on)
And I'll be raving about the Paralympics as they go along.... ;)