As we all know, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympics has begun, and I know we were all still basking in the afterglow of Olympic pandemonium that seemed to have abruptly ended a few weeks ago, but now we have been granted a second chance to reignite the passionate spark that united this country once before and relive the joy and celebration surrounding the momentous achievements of our athletes.
In regards to the upcoming participating athletes, I am simply in awe of them, not only because they overcame tremendous feats of strength and dedication to qualify for such a competitive event, but I respect them even more because they had to overcome more than the average able bodied person in their personal lives, which is inspiring even in itself. Personally speaking, I believe ALL athletes are from a different breed of people; the grace, humility and perseverance they eject is an aura so rarely felt between our everyday interactions. It makes me wonder why isn’t everyone like this? I believe that that we can not only learn, but grow by watching these athletes compete.
Appropriately, I will be cheering for our Canadian athletes, however in regards to the entire event, in my eyes they are already HEROES.
A bronze medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, Garth Harris was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 9 months of age. Garth received therapy services from the BC Centre for Ability until he was 14 years old. As apart of his therapy Garth was introduced to swimming where he discovered and enjoyed the stabilizing effect the water had on his muscles. Soon Garth aspired to become a competitive swimmer.
International Paralympic Committee president, Sir Phillip Craven, is a five-time Paralympian. He is s one of the key influences in having the Opening ceremonies broadcasted live by CTV last night. Tamara Tagart’s facebook profile last night was “Watching the Paralympic Opening Ceremony, bawling my eyes out as the torch comes into the building.” Cheers to Sir Phillip Craven, and let’s give a hand to BCTV for being the first to show Paralympic Opening Ceremonies on TV. I heard it was inspirational/magical/moving. I only got to see the beginning as my daughter and i had to meet up with family at Surrey Memorial Hospital to visit my 74 year old father, Deo Cruz[senior] as he is recovering from a broken right femur and right humerus. A few days ago at the mall he lost his balance while standing on crutches in an escalator. He chose to to fall backward to avoid landing on people in front of him. We’re waiting for one more surgery for his arm. He’s going to be fine. Dad is one of the toughest people i know. He is by far one of my biggest heroes. I’d love to watch last night’s ceromonies with him.
Lauren Barwick is a gifted rider who would have established a future in the sport at a very early age but with two siblings who have disabilities, horseback riding was not an affordable sport in her single-parent family. After many years out of the sport, Lauren eventually found her way back to her passion and obtained a job training horses for the local movie industry. Lauren was invigorated by her new role but a fall off of a horse would change many things in her life. The accident left her paralyzed from the hips down. Lauren was hospitalized and underwent therapy for nine months. As her condition stabilized she started to reclaim her life and found a job teaching horseback riding to children. Despite being close to horses on a daily basis, Lauren had almost given up on riding again. Through the encouragement of her coworkers, she gained the courage to get on a horse. This simple act of bravery changed Lauren’s life. She learned how to ride horses again and soon became a competitive rider. After winning many equestrian competitions, she represented Canada in Beijing to bring home a silver and gold medal.
And our Canadian hopeful for Canada’s Downhill Events in Whistler this month….Karolina Wisniewska! Here is her Schedule so I hope everyone has a chance to take some time to watch an amazing woman do what she does best!
2010 Paralympic Winter Games
March 13: Downhill
March 14: Super-G
March 16: Super Combined
March 18: Giant Slalom
March 20: Slalom