Paralympics Highlight More than Athletic Skill

Following the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, Russia will host the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games March 7–16. Paralympic athletes will compete in skiing, hockey, biathlon and — for the first time — snowboarding competitions.

The Paralympic Games are not just a chance to showcase the amazing ways in which athletes with physical and mental disabilities perform and compete. They also can help change peoples’ ideas about what it means to be disabled and encourage equal access for those with disabilities in society and the workplace, organizers say.

Skiier Dan Metivier represented the United States at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. Disabled due to a motorcycle injury, he saw skiing as a way to reclaim his independence and open doors.

“Being ‘disabled’ doesn’t really mean anything,” he said while training at Utah’s National Ability Center. “Really the true disability is between the ears.” Of his fellow Paralympians in training, Metivier observed, “The people out here are having fun and living life to the fullest.”

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