Like most everyone with a TV, I’m watching the Olympics.
Our family favorites are the swimming events, though I’m also a fan of the track and field (particularly the longer distances). I’m probably watching more commercials this week than I’ve watched in a year, because although most of the events I’ve seen weren’t live when I watched them, none of it is DVR’d, either. And for once, I’m thankful for that.
Nike has a great series of commercials right now with the tagline, “Find Your Greatness.” My personal favorite is “Baseball,” (embedded first), followed almost immediately by “Jogger,” (embedded at the bottom) but I also love “Marathon” (because I’ve lived it) and “Skate” (ADORBS!) After my pity party on Tuesday, seeing “Baseball” brought me back to the reality that no matter her ability, Sarah Kate is finding her own greatness, and I have a piece of that for supporting her.
Find Your Greatness – Baseball
The Olympics, Paralympics, and Special Olympics – particularly at the level of international competition – all celebrate the accomplishments of great athletes. But a few individuals over the years have demonstrated their greatness by participating in both the Olympics and the Paralympics, so in celebration of the XXX Olympiad, I’m highlighting a few of them.
Oscar, representing South Africa in the 2012 London Games, was born without a fibula in either of his legs, and as a result became a double below the knee amputee before he could walk. Unfortunately, his artificial lower legs have made Pistorius the target of claims that he has an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners (yes, really). Oscar will compete in the 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay beginning on Saturday.
Learn More: http://www.oscarpistorius.com/
Natalia was selected to compete in 2012 in both the singles and team table tennis events, representing Poland, despite being born without a right hand and forearm (she also competed in 2008 in Beijing). She has already been eliminated in the singles event; first round of women’s team events begin tomorrow.
Natalie du Toit
Swimmer Natalie du Toit barely missed qualifying for the 2000 Sydney games as an able-bodied athlete. In 2001, her left leg had to be amputated as a result of a motorcycle accident. Undeterred, she qualified for and competed in the 2008 Beijing Games, representing South Africa.
Learn More: http://www.nataliedutoit.co.za/
US runner Marla Runyan developed Stargardt’s Disease at the age of nine, leaving her legally blind. She became the first legally blind person and Paralympian to compete in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, finishing eighth in the 1,500-meter, the highest finish by an American woman in that event.
Learn More: http://www.marlarunyan.com/
Italian archer Paola Fantato contracted poliomyelitis at age eight. She competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and five consecutive Paralympics between 1988 and 2004.
Another archer, Neroli Fairhall of New Zealand, was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident. She broke new ground for disabled competitors at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Fairhall’s appearance at the Olympics was questioned when some rivals suggested she had an advantage in shooting from a sitting position. The controversy waned when, asked if that were so, she replied: “I don’t know. I’ve never shot standing up.”
“Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few….Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We’re all capable of it.”
– Nike ad, Find Your Greatness – Jogger
Find Your Greatness – Jogger
Watch all of the “Find Your Greatness” videos: http://gonike.me/findgreatness
And be sure to come back for tomorrow’s snippets – my friend Dawn pulled a video out of the vault of me cheering Sarah Kate at one of her meets last summer. You will not want to miss the opportunity to mock me publicly on my blog, I promise!
In the combox following Tuesday’s post, the possibility of having Sarah Kate participate in Special Olympics came up, which was then countered with a suggestion than parasport would be more appropriate for her. Not everyone knows the difference, so I thought I’d do a quick primer: Special Olympics is for people with intellectual disabilities (like Nathan); Paralympics focuses on people with physical disabilities (like Sarah Kate).