Paralympics Pandemonium

I’m excited because for the first time ever, the 2021 Paralympics will receive evening media coverage.

I’ve always been a fan of the Olympics especially this year. I’ve been watching faithfully and must give a shout-out to my favorite Olympian, “The Goat” Simone Biles who won a Bronze Medal on the balance beam after sitting out on a few competitions for her mental health. It takes a strong person to admit when something’s wrong and I commend her for that.

Although, I’ve always tuned in to the Olympics, I’ve never seen the Paralympics. I’ve heard of it and even seen footage, but never watched in real time. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the games, the problem is, it was never on when I was watching television during the evening.

All that’s about to change. I’ll be tuning in to the Paralympics 2021 thanks to the NBC Network who will be covering 1200 hours of the games (digital and broadcast mediums) many during prime time.

This announcement has gotten me so hyped that I’ve been doing research on some of the competing athletes.

Ohio native, Grace Norman will be competing in this year’s Paralympics for the second time. Grace who took home gold in the triathlon event in the 2016 games in Rio, was born with a birth defect causing her to have her left leg, and right toe amputated. Grace is a natural born athlete who played sports at Cedarville University and received a degree in nursing. Watch out for this young woman for I have a feeling she’s going to blow the competition out.

Do you know David Brown? If not, you will, for he’s known in the Paralympics arena as the fastest man in the world. David contracted Kawasaki disease as a toddler which caused him to lose his sight at age thirteen. Fortunately, his disability never stopped him from doing what he loves to do; including being an accomplished musician playing the drums, piano, and saxophone. David is the first blind man to run the hundred meter within eleven seconds. Another thing that makes David unique is he runs with the assistance of a guide to help him stay on the track. Keep on the look-out for David; he’s so fast, that if you blink, you’ll miss him.

Although you won’t get to see three-time gold medalist Becca Meyers compete, she’s an accomplished athlete and noteworthy. Swimmer and Baltimore native, Becca Meyers who’s deaf and blind has won multiple competitions through-out her career and was ready to continue her winning streak in Tokyo. Unfortunately, Becca had to pull-out of the games because she was denied the request to bring her own personal care assistant, who is her mother, to Tokyo.

Becca’s story is sad and unfair, yet not uncommon. This is just another factor of what I think is discrimination against people with disabilities. I’m hopeful in time, a story like this will not be in the forefront because of people like Becca and others sharing and advocating for better outcomes.

Although things aren’t perfect when it comes to positive media coverage of people with disabilities, I’m still glad the Paralympics will be broadcasting in prime time for all to see. I’ll be watching and hope you will too.

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