Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Inclusion

Like a great portion of the population, I look forward to the Olympics.  My Friday was planned so I could be home to watch the Opening Ceremony and the pageantry, excitement, unity, and stories that come with it.  I love every minute from the choreography, the music, and the uniforms for each country.  It is a fun tradition that draws me in each year.

This year, there was a surprise.  This year, I saw an inclusive ceremony.  There were individuals with disabilities throughout the night.  They were members of the performance, volunteers, and people.  People who happened to have disabilities.  I first realized what I was seeing when the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children 

Choir performs national anthem at Olympic Opening Ceremony
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It was a beautiful performance.  Then, as I watched the dancing and music throughout the ages, I noticed that there were additional individuals with disabilities participating.  They were dancing, singing, and a truly included part of the ceremony.  There was nothing giving away that they were different, separate, or disabled in the choreography or placement of them in regards to the television cameras and other participants.  No, it was simply people performing--all people who volunteered.

This is not the end of inclusion for this Olympics.  Athletes who would only have been participating in the Para Olympics are participating in both this year. Oscar Pistorius and Natalia Partyka are a testament not only to their own strength but to who we can become when we look toward each other's strengths, rather than our perceived weaknesses or short comings.

Thank you Olympics for inspiring us all in some way.  You gave me a glimpse of the future I believe in, thank you.