Posted by: njs44 | August 30, 2010

Incredible Athletes

There are only 29 days left, as I write, to watch this amazing programme on 4oD, Inside Incredible Athletes. Don’t delay! This may well be the most inspiring, uplifting thing you will watch all year. Here’s the link:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/inside-incredible-athletes/4od#3117383

There is no room for pity here, just sheer determination to be the best you can be. This is so far away from the tragedy school of disability, that you might even find yourself envying these disabled athletes. In fact ‘disabled’ is somehow the wrong word to use. They are fantastic examples of what can be achieved by people who do not take no for an answer, and who are blessed with a spectacular amount of drive and ambition.

The scientists who are studying the brains of these extraordinary people are learning new things all the time. It was great to see a Cambridge neuroscientist see MRI images he did not think were possible, when the visual area of a blind man’s brain ‘lit up’ as they played him various sounds. The plasticity of the brain has been talked about, by neuroscientists anyway, for some time, but here we could see this phenomenon demonstrated in all its glory.

For me there were many magic moments in this programme, but of all of them, the one I will pick out was when a former soldier, who had been blinded by a roadside bomb and had also suffered several other injuries, described himself as fortunate, because, in his own words, ‘some of my team came home in a box’. He was busy training for the blind football team – you need to watch the programme to see how that works.

It is two years, nearly to the day, to the start of the London Paralympics. I can’t wait to get tickets for that.

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