Games of ability and great achievement

"Children and young people around the world have marvelled at the performances of the athletes and been inspired to go beyond their best, and beyond what they thought they could ever achieve in the classroom and in their communities. Thanks to the athletes, young people know it is possible to triumph over adversity, to challenge and then change their circumstances and to achieve great things." said Sebastian Coe, the London 2012 Organising Committee Chair, at the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

London 2012 Paralympic Games have been indeed inspirational and an amazing display of determination, passion and achievement for all of us. The largest Paralympics to ever be held, the competition had the largest number of athletes (4,294) and participating nations (164 countries), and featured 20 sports, from goalball, judo and powerlifting, to wheelchair rugby, tennis and sitting volleyball. An impressive number of 251 world records were set at the Games.

"Incredible people have performed feats we hardly thought possible," Sebastian Coe said. "Our minds were opened to what people can do, and to what can be achieved by sheer talent and determination." This also includes attitudes towards disability which have improved (in the UK at least), according to a research ahead of the Closing Ceremony:

  • 8 out of 10 respondents in the UK agree that the Paralympics had a positive impact on the way people with an impairment are viewed by society;
  • 1 in 3 respondents said the Games have changed their attitude towards people with disabilities;
  • 74% agree the Games have shown the world how to treat disabled people with respect and equality;
  • and finally, that the Paralympic Games are about ability, not disability.

Inspired by the determination and talent of the Paralympics athletes, the European Social Network (ESN) will continue to work on promoting independent living for people with disabilities and active inclusion in society. Sport is one of the many activities where people with disability can break down barriers and achieve amazing performances.