For two weeks every two years, my family becomes obsessed with athletic competition, uncontrollable patriotism, and even critique athletes’ bad performances when we know that we could never accomplish anything similar. Within 14 days, Red Gerard, Chloe Kim, The Shib Sibs, and Team Shuster became household names while names like Ester Ledecka, Alina Zagitova, and Yuzuru Hanyu became global Olympians who were deeply admired by all countries. These athletes have amazing accomplishments and should be applauded for their dedication, however, there are more Olympians who have yet to compete. The regular Olympic games have concluded, but the Paralympic games are just beginning, and these Olympians deserve just as much attention, if not more than the regular games.
In no way am I diminishing the hard work each Olympian puts forth in order to compete in the games, but rather saying, Paralympians work as hard as the Olympians we know and love, only to have their events overlooked because it is not included in the traditional Olympic games. I think it is amazing for those with disabilities to host their own games, except many people, myself included, stop watching the games after the closing ceremony. In my opinion, this expel of the Paralympic games is because people without disabilities watch the conventional games and see themselves represented, and if they are not represented, then they have no reason to watch it. However, disabled athletes display those with impairments, and young disabled children can have athletic role-models. As able-bodied people watch the Olympics, and root for their favorite athlete, there should be an identical fan-culture for the Paralympics.
Furthermore, I believe the Paralympics do not receive the same amount of support is because many people do not understand the events, making them less involved in the competition. There are fewer events but the competitive spirit is equal to the traditional games, and the entire Paralympic community understands that being an impaired athlete is no easy task. Events like alpine skiing, biathlon, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and ice sled hockey, are entertaining for all, not just for those with disabilities.
With five sports and 80 medal events, patriotism is bound to be prevalent. Therefore, I encourage all people to tune into the Paralympic Games commencing on March 8th. Go be supportive East Lyme!