Tonight the Paralympic Games have closed in China.
In a very emotional closing ceremony, the Paralympic Athletes gathered once again in the National “Birds Nest” Stadium to pay tribute to thier achievements, triumphant and corageous.
These Paralympic Games have truly been a watershed for the movement and something all of China can be most proud. All fans of sport for athletes with a disability should be proud of their achievements too, for it is they who have travelled to the venues and stages of Beijing, and to China from near and far via the internet and television like never before.
From a personal perspective, the most emotional and uplifting moment this evening has been the segment entitled “A Letter to the Future”. Each of the 90,000 crowd, spectators and broadcasters alike received a special postcard and envelope on which they can write a message to the world about what they were thinking and feeling on this special night. These cards and envelopes were only available in Beijing and can only be posted in China.
Over the next week or two these postcards will be delivered around the world with the messages inside them. A message for the future of sport for elite athletes with a disability.
Transcendence, Integration, Equality … the mission accomplished, the spirit of Beijing will live on, just as it has done so in Sydney. My personal dream would be for the volunteers of Beijing to form a group similar to ours and not just remember this dream but continue to live it as we have done these past eight years.