The Sochi Olympics have come and gone. Many of us are still suffering from an Olympic “hangover”. Especially with the final day of Olympic fever with the 5 am wake-up call of the Canada Gold medal hockey game February 23. I, like millions of other Canadians, watched with admiration, pride and support over the course of the two weeks of the Olympics Games. I have numerous memorable moments that I can site. Whether it be the opening ceremonies, the figure skating second place heart ache or the gold medal curling, I was glued to my T.V., computer and phone.
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games began March 7, 2014 and ended on Sunday March 16, 2014. My question to you is “what was your favourite moment” of these Games? What is your favourite sport in the Games? Are you going to the airport to welcome Manitoban Dennis Thiessen home from his gold medal win in wheelchair curling?
I have to admit that the Paralympic Games is not what I normally think about when I think of the “Olympics”. However, having watched some of the coverage myself, I was completely blown away by what I saw.
I saw a paraplegic skier fly down the hill in alpine skiing. This completely amazed me, as it does when I watch any skier, able bodied or not in this sport. I am too chicken to try to get off a ski lift!
I saw a biathlete with one arm whip across the trails. One arm! Incredible. Did you know that cross-country skiing events include women’s and men’s standing, sitting and visually impaired? I didn’t!
A total of 45 countries participated in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games. Sports included alpine skiing and snowboarding, biathlon and cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
Canada placed 4th in overall results – total medal counts. This achieved the Canadian team the results goal of 3rd place in gold medal hardware.
So what happens now for Canadian Paralympic athletes and programming after Sochi? Well according to Anne Merklinger, CEO of Own the Podium, “the future really bodes well in terms of the young up-and-comers that we have”. They want to focus on the next generation of athletes heading to the 2018 Games.
These athletes are just like any other athletes. They get the same rush of adrenaline, the same nerves, and the same self-doubt. They also have the same drive and passion for sport and athletic prowess. They train just as hard as able bodied athletes. They deserve the same spotlight. My hope is that anyone who reads this will pay closer attention to Paralympians.
I am sure that these Paralympic athletes, like all able bodied Olympians, would welcome sponsorship. If you are one of these athletes, or you are a company that would like to sponsor one or a team, contact us and we can help get you two together!
Although you cannot go back and watch events of the Games, you can follow the athletes and organization on Twitter @Paralympic and Facebook “Paralympic Games”, on Google Plus and YouTube. Tweet about them, share them, like them. I guarantee they deserve your attention and support!