The Paralympics are the true custodians of the ancient Olympic Spirit–Reflections of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games

Lord Bates

When Professor Stephen Hawking who is confined to a wheelchair with motor neurone disease spoke through his voice syntheziser and urged that we, “look up at the stars, and not down at your feet,” he opened our minds. When David Toole who was born without legs danced with incredible movement, sensitivity and expression and then magically took to the air he opened our eyes to the world of physical possibility rather than physical disability.

When Mohammed Fahim Rahimi who lost both his legs to a landmine carried the national flag of Afghanistan into the stadium and Royal Marine Commando, Joe Townsend, who lost both his legs to a landmine in Afghanistan, flew into the packed stadium on a zip wire with the Olympic torch they reminded us of the ultimate impotence of war and the power of sport to transcend prejudice and grievance.

What these superheroes teach us is that whether you have just failed to get the exam grades you expected, whether you have just lost your job, whether you have suffered great personal loss, whether you are trapped in a conflict from which there seems no escape, whether you are ill, whether you are old, you are not powerless, but powerful and can choose to act this day as a victim or a victor, to rise above or sink below. These are the true messengers of the gods who inspired the ancient Olympians on to greatness and who can inspire us again today.

12 comments for “The Paralympics are the true custodians of the ancient Olympic Spirit–Reflections of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games

  1. Kostas Hatzis
    30/08/2012 at 2:17 pm

    Yes ,
    when i saw the opening ceremony,
    i could not keep dry .

  2. Twm O'r Nant
    31/08/2012 at 5:55 am

    they reminded us of the ultimate impotence of war and the power of sport to transcend prejudice and grievance.

    If only! How many martial arts are being fought?

  3. Twm O'r Nant
    31/08/2012 at 7:06 am

    they reminded us of the ultimate impotence of war and the power of sport to transcend prejudice and grievance.

    If only! How many martial arts are being fought?

    The noble lord’s effort is a drop in the ocean especially when you consider the war on the roads, which is probably responsible for a certain number of the paralympic competitors being there at all, as competitors. 2,400 deaths and serious injuries in the UK alone every year, and the number of cyclig deaths INCREASING, in part due to the huge interest in Olympic/Tour cycling.

    suffered great personal loss, whether you are trapped in a conflict from which there seems no escape, whether you are ill, whether you are old, you are not powerless, but powerful and can choose to act this day as a victim or a victor, to rise above or sink below.

    This is very much Jungian dream time psychology which relies on ancient myth and legend for its references. The noble Lord’s argument is consistent,if nothing else, but being consistent puts him in exactly the same psychological domain as any accomplished campaigning army general.

    No more war…. for two weeks!

    If he gave up all use of fossil fuels, and all internal combustion vehicles and gadgets
    in about 2003, he would have a better case,if not a thoroughly good one, not only for the Olympic truce but for War in the world somewhere, AND War on the roads.

    He would have no need for conscience of any sort, Jungian or otherwise.

    It is the modern mania for internal combustion machinery of killing, and of transport, that is the cause of so much woe!

    His Olympic truce is no better than tossing the coin in the fountain. The owner of the fountain may do well. That is all.

  4. MilesJSD
    31/08/2012 at 9:51 am

    The real longterm Human-Civilisational need here

    is not for heroic fitness
    at the Peak of a few special little pyramids,

    worthy and noteworthy ‘though such War-Maimed, Olympic, and Paralympic pyramids doubtless are.

    The real modern, and future, Big-Need is for

    All-Round Holistic Healthy Habits in both the Lifeplace and the Workplace respectively.

    A vital core of modern and pre-modern advances, in such Individual-and-Mutual Daily Health and Longterm Wellbeing Building,
    is still being avoided, ignored, and deliberately repressed.

    Many such are being early removed not only from School and University lLibraries but from Municipal Public Libraries too.

    (For instance, Plymouth Library no longer has “Natural Vision Improvement” by Janet Goodrich – a highly successful and practical self-help classic).

    [I have previously submitted shortlists of such neglected works, and up to last month Lords of the Blog was publishing such, but now censors not just such a list but the whole-submission such suppressed works are cited as being adequately in support of].

    • Hansard Society
      Beccy Allen
      31/08/2012 at 9:55 am

      Miles …we just don’t need the same list of the same books you recommend in every post! A link to the list on your blog perhaps instead?

      • MilesJSD
        31/08/2012 at 7:59 pm

        OK Beccy
        (and your “We”;
        who also “don’t need”
        recommendation, reminder nor reference to the Lifesplace enablements nor the further Workplace skills that are being avoided or suppressed by the British Establishment, Governance, Education, Health, and Community classes and sectors;
        but which continue to be contained, and affordably-available to be read and learned-from, even if not from Libraries then online through book/DVD sellers,
        in the works I correctly link to many Issues and Comments published by Peers and sometimes by Participants including Hansard and other linked-professsionals
        via Lords of the Blog).

        My (“the”) situation-position is that I know of no other democratic/participatory-democratising e-sites, avenues,
        nor public political, nor Earth-/British- participatively-androgogical-citizenship-educational-
        places,
        where such essential matters can be not only recognised but “kept on the table until democraticly dealt-with, and implemented (whatever)”.

        And due to the high cost, and low-effectiveness, levels of home-PC technicians visits, my two still-running but quite untidy, two non-profit “citizens-participation” websites, are not yet ‘bloggable’ nor ‘forum-able’;
        nor have three technicians yet shown nor been able to establish these two non-profit websites “two-wayable”, “e-mailable”, nor “webinar-able” for two or more participants to be making cooperative-discussion through:
        http://www.lifefresh.co.uk;
        http://www.minorityofone.net .

        Further and worse, “Create” has recently made it impossible for me to publish any further entries thereon, and does not reply to my email about this either;
        but has continued to take the charges out of my bank account.
        ———
        So I think that you and “All” should be kept informed of such further-needs issues.
        ——–
        That’s all. Beccy.

        • MilesJSD
          05/09/2012 at 6:28 pm

          ‘Create’,
          it just needs to be reported,
          has quickly come through and cleared-up my inability to get new stuff published.

  5. Sharon
    31/08/2012 at 10:38 am

    Just don’t expect every disabled person to be fit for work. After all, we don’t expect you to be able to run like Jess Ennis now do we? We can see where all this is headed!

  6. maude elwes
    31/08/2012 at 2:18 pm

    Stephen Hawking is a living miracle that leads me to a belief in the God particle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=KPoxewA-URo

    He is the single fantasy I have had of dinner stretching through the force to a morning sun.

  7. Nazma FOURRE
    01/09/2012 at 2:16 am

    Dear Lord Bates,
    A very touching philosophical approach of life which you have brought through this relevant example of paraolympians.I admire too their courage and their determination to compete despite their handicap.

    Life itself is a continuous battle and struggle, and in the middle of frozen tears and desperation , there is always somewhere a blessed voice,an angel, who comes to wipe the wounds and dries the pain with an offering hand to carry on with the struggle of life .Life after all has to be lived as each page of a destiny cannot be written twice.
    God save the Queen and the Lords. God bless the united Kingdom.
    Nazma FOURRE

  8. Twm O'r Nant
    01/09/2012 at 6:36 pm

    Just don’t expect every disabled person to be fit for work.

    I expect Sharon has been watching with great enthusiasm, but Simone(?) Wright’s story about 7/07 and the tube train crippling, touched me deeply. I hope the ball team did well!

    I may say that the diabled and handicapped have a brief respite, from the constant prejudice against them in public places, during these games.

    For a brief moment it seems as though we will ALL be disabled and these are all people to be emulated in their chairs or with their prosthetics, and then we remember
    how very lucky we are to be in one piece, and how important it is to keep that way!
    And probably on… to not much time for the disabled either!!

  9. 06/09/2012 at 10:54 am

    After all the who-ha of an Olympic legacy why is no one saying anything in relation to Paralympic legacy; a fairer deal for the less abled? Wouldn’t this be a perfect tribute?

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