Medals for Champions

Sport is not really my thing. I take a passing interest but participated only when I had to at school. I acknowledge that many people are passionate about it but sometimes I feel saddened that a person who can run really fast gets more recognition than one who has to use all their willpower and effort to communicate their thoughts and share their ideas. It seems unbalanced and unfair. They both work so hard to achieve their goals. Still, such kudos for physical skills is harder to swallow now I have a child with Cerebral Palsy. This week though the weight seems to be more evenly placed.

I have watched some of the Commonwealth Games and, like many of my unsporty compatriots, have jumped on the Aussie bandwagon. It seems to be a friendlier competition than the Olympics. Even more so when I saw an unexpected event…para-swimming. Para-sports are at the Games. Not afterwards, not separate, not a “demonstration” as per the Olympics but a part of the action. How fabulous. Better still the medals earned are included in their national tally. And so they should.

Apparently I haven’t been paying attention because this is the fourth Commonwealth Games at which para-athletes have been included. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the Olympics could follow suit? The practicalities of two such big events merging to one may be too challenging…but hoping for it is a good start. Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week began Monday here in Australia so I’m pleased to be feeling hopeful. Pleased that such a public event is modelling inclusion and acceptance and celebrating the capabilities of our top athletes (even in my capacity as a self-confessed non-sporty person). My hope for my own child and her friends this week is recognition of their capabilities. Isn’t that what we all want? To be recognised for abilities rather than the lack of them? Some champions swim and some switch. I am inspired by a young man who is paving the way in assistive technology…check out his story.

The future looks bright. Aussie Aussie….oi oi oi.



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