The Paralympics have come a long way since 1948 where Sir Ludwig Guttman organised a sports competition for World War 2 veterans with spinal cord injuries.  Olympic style games were first organised at Rome in 1960 where 400 athletes from23 countries took part to 3806 athletes from 136 countries at Athens 2004.  Beijing in 2008 will be even bigger, there is also a special song for the Paralympics titled ‘Everyone is Number One’, the mascot of the Paralympics is  Fu Niu Lele,  a multicoloured cow which to quote from the Beijing 2008 official website “derives its inspiration from the farming cultivation culture of ancient Chinese civilization”.  Also the website goes on to explain …”The determined, optimistic and diligent spirit of cows reflects a positive attitude to life. The Paralympic Games calls for people with a disability to enjoy the same rights to compete in sports as anyone else, and to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the World, and thus develop their strength to add vigor and vitality to social progress.”  I’m sure that these will be the best yet but the Paralympics starts 12 days after the end of the Olympics finishes on August 24.  Why not have the two events together, integration not separation.

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