Amazing stories of incredible people are the norm at the London Paralympics.
Every one of the men and women who are competing over the next two weeks have wonderful stories to tell that can inspire, uplift and empower everyone of all abilities.
Take Ellie Simmonds, who was born with dwarfism. She was one of Britain’s most successful swimmers in Beijing where, aged just 13, she brought home two gold medals in the 100m Freestyle and the 400m Freestyle, making her the youngest ever Briton to win an individual gold medal at a Paralympic Games.
Then there is Derek Derenalagi, who was pronounced dead and zipped into a body bag at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, after losing both his legs in an explosion in 2007. Derek first picked up the discus in 2010 – and in the last two years has become a superstar of track and field events.
Or consider Dr Stephen Hawking, who helped open the games. Diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, Dr Hawking was told he would only live until the age of 24. Now in his 70s, he has not only survived, albeit almost entirely paralysed and able to communicate only via a computer, but is recognised as one of the leading minds of the 20th and 21st centuries.
These three are just a handful of the men and women who have trained themselves to the peak of their abilities, who have overcome severe obstacles and in some cases faced and beaten death.
All I can say is this: In London 2012 at the Paralympics, prepare to be astounded – and inspired!
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