Whilst the Winter Olympics claimed plaudits due to its ability to offer opportunities to the masses, the ongoing Paralympics may also call for focus. With this year’s edition hosting 80 medal events and providing 49 nations with opportunities to win, the competition seems to possess similar credentials to the Olympics. When coupled with the wide television coverage, a prominent goal may be to bring the event alongside its counterparts. Considering the Winter Olympics created unity among nations, with the two halves of Korea competing under a joint flag perhaps the most noteworthy support of this suggestion, the games may have already attained a large focus. As such, it may be an intelligent decision to host the Paralympics in the immediate aftermath of his predecessors, as they may be able to draw attention to themselves proficiently. With 70% of tickets sold out by January, this ideology may have been successful.
The event originally occurred in 1976 and was the first Paralympics to provide eligibility for athletes other than those in wheelchairs. This ultimately seemed to occur due to Sepp Zwicknagl, a pioneer for snow sports who experimented with skiing using prosthetics. As such, he may have been the catalyst in ensuring those in similar circumstances may be provided with pathways into the sport. These values may have been maintained, with British snowboarder Owen Pick acting as flag bearer for Team GB. Thus, his status may have ensured these matters continue to be at the forefront of the games, with focus on why the competition may therefore be important. The pathway into the sport may also be becoming increasingly viable, with the status of the event a key contributor to this. Yet, the influx of funding and support networks available also seem to make the transitional phase more productive. As such, it ultimately may be adhering to its original ideology: to provide opportunities for people to focus on a new life goal.
With multiple events available to contest in, the tournament may naturally be providing opportunities for athletes to find a sport suited to their needs and capabilities. Therefore, their chances of entering the Paralympics may be elevated. Athletes seem to have seized this opportunity, with motivation at its peak to succeed, and considering 20 different nations have attained positions on the medal table, this desire may have bypassed geographical boundaries. The status of the event may, therefore, be cemented, as with all nations noting the credentials of the competition, the importance of proficient performances may be amplified. In bypassing these boundaries, including with Russian athletes, the organisers may have retained the credibility and moral standpoint of the event, whilst simultaneously adhering to their overarching ideology of providing opportunities.
Team GB seems to have also achieved at the games, perhaps showcasing the reasoning behind their decision to send a large squad, with success in the early encounters showing why they warranted a position. Attaining three silver medals and a bronze thus far may reiterate this, and when coupled with a wide array of proficient performances, these athletes may be showcasing why Paralympians may warrant support. Considering the nations of the United Kingdom may have perhaps performed superiorly in other sports previously, these Paralympians may be provided with an opportunity to act as the focal point for British sport, and lead them along a fresh, successful pathway.
Whilst the results may take precedence, as this seems the overarching point behind the games, it may more poignantly highlight the importance of possessing varying skill sets, as opportunities may be created as a result. With the wide range of events ensuring they may be widely subscribed to, and create fan intrigue, the tournament may hold an important position in the calendar, as perhaps the sole competition celebrating diversity and ranging abilities. If these athletes may continue to showcase their desire to compete, they may act as inspirations for the masses to similarly strive for success on their respective life paths, an important attribute in creating a content society.
Why might the Winter Olympics act as the catalyst in a wider array of people striving for a career in sport?