What happened: The Paralympic Games are in the spotlight in a new documentary on Netflix. “Rising Phoenix” explores the history of the games and follows several athletes as they give their all for a chance at winning gold. According to the International Paralympic Committee, the film’s release was originally meant to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 games but is now setting the stage for next year’s big event, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film is set to release on August 26 and will include the stories of athletes:
Bebe Vio (Italy)
Ellie Cole (Australia)
Jean-Baptiste Alaize (France)
Matt Stutzman (USA)
Jonnie Peacock (UK)
Cui Zhe (China)
Ryley Batt (Australia)
Ntando Mahlangu (South Africa)
Tatyana McFadden (USA).
From the rubble of World War II to the third biggest sporting event on the planet, the Paralympics sparked a global movement which continues to change the way the world thinks about disability, diversity & human potential. — “Rising Phoenix”
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) August 13, 2020
The Frontlines: The concept of the Paralympic Games got its start in 1948 when Sir Ludwig Guttmann organized a competition involving World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries. Later, Olympic-style games for athletes with a disability were formally organized in Rome in 1960 and it was in 1976 that several disability groups first came together to form an international event. The first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden that same year. Since then Paralympic sports have gained widespread attention and highlights that people with disabilities belong in every arena, including sports.
One in 4 American adults are living with a disability and approximately 15% of the world’s population has a disability
One study found Disabled Sports USA participants were twice as likely to be employed than other adults with disabilities.
Research suggests participation in an adaptive sport can increase overall quality of life for people with disabilities including health, family life and social life.
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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Sophie Etheridge, shared that although Paralympic sports are becoming increasingly popular, there are still barriers to success. She said, “If you are lucky to live in an area that campaigns for disability sports and has disability sports organizations, you can generally find a club and coach. If not, you may have to travel a significant distance to get to training sessions, meaning that if you are unable to drive, you can’t get there. This sadly stops a lot of people from doing the sports they want to do, so they either don’t participate in sports or have to choose another sport.” You can submit your first-person story, too.
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Other things to know: You can help elevate the world of Paralympic and adaptive sports by learning more about the athletes and programs available to those who want to get involved: