living well

Why do I support ParalympicsGB?

2 Comments 04 September 2012

Vritish Airways HomeAdvantage

You already know I went to the Olympics and loved it. I am not sport mad but it was pretty amazing on several levels. Last week I was given tickets by British Airways to attend the Paralympics and I wondered if it would be different.

When I arrived, there were the same massive crowds, the same enthusiastic supporters from all over the world dressed in their country’s colours and often wearing silly costumes, the same happy, friendly volunteers directing people, and the same excitement!

We first went to wheelchair basketball and the place was packed. And that was different. When I went to synchronised swimming in the Olympics there were a lot of empty seats (the expensive seats), even though the supporters who were there were extremely enthusiatstic.

I loved seeing the full venues at the Paralympics, loved seeing all the supporters.

I don’t support the Paralympics because it’s the Right Thing to do, supporting people with disabilities, I have other reasons.

1. I support sport

We need to make sport a part of our everyday life. General fitness is as important as eating well. We have Jamie Oliver and his School Dinners, we need some athletes to lead a Get Off Yer Bum campaign as well! Fitness could become something we do almost without thinking about it, like cleaning our teeth. “You didn’t clean your teeth today? Ugh!” and “You didn’t exercise today? Ugh!”

Regular exercise reduces stress (the number one contributer to many diseases), wakes us up, clears our heads, helps us maintain a healthy weight and generally makes us healthier and happier.

You don’t have to train like an athlete to feel the benefit of exercise–a 40 minute walk does wonders for me!

2. I support the Olympic Ideal

The Olympic Ideal is that individual atheletes compete against each other in sport, in a peaceful competition without the baggage of politics, religion, or racism.

I love that when I attended Wheelchair Basketball at the weekend, even though everyone around me was British and the teams we were watching were Italy and South Africa, we were all cheering for every goal. The crowds were supporting athletes and performance.

3. I support opportunity

Why should a soldier return from war and sit on the sidelines because he’s lost two legs? How does that make him any less capable of contributing to society and sport? The Paralympics offer an opportunity to set goals and work towards them so that he might show himself and the world that although having two less legs means he has to make some adjustments, he can still be an equal member of our society.

The same applies to someone born with physical disabilities or learning difficulties. A society’s worth is judged on how they treat the most vulnerable people and by offering equal opportunities and support to all people in our society, we show our worth.

Helping individuals in our society gain personal satisfaction and success we only improve our strength as a society. It’s win-win!

4. I support good examples

As with any goal, I want to know that if I or anyone in my family becomes disabled–or if one of us has a child who is disabled there will be people we can look to for inspiration and guidance. Elite athletes, whether Paralympians or not, are all examples of hard work, determination and support: amazing examples to all of us, when looking forward to any goal!

5. It’s a great opportunity to offer the #HomeAdvantage

Even though I support all althetes in the Olympics and Paralympics, I love turning up to support the British team because this is their home turf, and it’s important to give them the home advantage!

British Airways have run a campaign to keep people at home to watch the Olympics and Paralympics because the home advantage means playing in your familiar surroundings but also being supported by more people. It doesn’t take a sports psychologist to show the obvious benefits of competing at home.

I support ParalympicsGB because of all these reasons, and also simply because I just love watching a good game of sport.


Are you going to the Paralympics? Do you know anyone competing?

Would you like to win tickets to see ParalympicsGB? You can do so on the British Airways Home Advantage site!

You can also find British Airways on Twitter, @British_Airways and tweet about offering your #HomeAdvantage support of #ParalympicsGB! Get out there and support your athletes!



Disclosure: British Airways gave me tickets to see the Paralympics.




Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Lucy says:

    We went to the Paralympics on Sunday and it was fantastic! The athletes are very talented and inspirational, and give a very positive message about the potential and worth of disabled people. My son is eight and has mild physical disabilities as well as Aspergers. We are bringing him up with a very positive attitude to disabilities. We had the upset last year of a member of staff at his school telling him bluntly that he has ‘something wrong with him’ – nobody can take those words away but hopefully with what we are witnessing at the Paralympics he can see that EVERYONE has worth and potential and not to be held back by disability, that disability isn’t a negative thing, just that we are all different with different talents.

  2. Russell says:

    Oooo, I am so envious of you, Michelle. I think the Olympics would have been great but there’s something extra special about the Paralympics that would have been equally or even more wonderful. I read an article today about a silver medal-winning American archer who has no arms and uses his leg and shoulder. What an athlete! I think this is why the crowds have come – these are incredible sporting feats performed by living legends rarely seen in the mainstream media.

    Thank you for supporting the Brits. I think home turf support is vital and it’s great to see people from up and down the country getting into the spirit of things. Now I just need to find an airline ticket to bring me back in time for the closing ceremony 😉

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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