The Winter Paralympics come every 4 years, but having it hosted in South Korea is a once-in-a lifetime event. Ninety freshmen from Seoul Foreign School were fortunate enough to watch the Snowboard events held last Monday, March 12th. It was definitely a long journey, but the students were able to come back with different, broadened mindsets.
|[Entrance tickets to the Snowboard event (Photo taken by Seungwon Choi)]
It was evident that the majority of the students preferred the Olympics much more than the Paralympics. Not many of the students seemed to be thrilled to watch the Paralympic games. What could the reasons be? Was it just because the athletes were ‘disabled’? Or perhaps because they weren’t as ‘good’ as the Olympians? Such reasons were only typical excuses, which disheartened me.
Not only the students, but the whole nation acted the same way. During the Olympic season, every single channel we turn on TV, at anytime, broadcasted an Olympic event. However, for the Paralympic Games that is currently going on, it is difficult to find one single channel that is airing an event ‘live’. This proves that people are not as interested in the Paralympics as the Olympics, and they don’t feel the need to pay as much attention.
The word ‘Paralympic’ is a combination between ‘parallel’ and ‘Olympic’. This word was created in order to show the equality between the disabled and non-disabled. Therefore, people should consider the Olympics and Paralympics to be equivalent; paying the same amount of attention and respect for both games. Just like any other athletes, Paralympians have put in so much effort and work in order to get to this stage, despite having a special kind of disability. It is necessary for them to get as much appreciation.
“I’ve never paid so much attention to the Paralympics, but as of today, I think we should appreciate it as much as the Olympics.” - Response from a student to the question ‘How do you feel after watching the Paralympics?’
“I forgot for a second that I was watching the Paralympics. It just seemed like the Olympics.” - Statement made by an audience after the games were finished.
Parallel to the responses above, all of the students seemed to have similar opinions about the Paralympics. They were indifferent at first, but their thoughts completely changed throughout the trip. They opened their eyes to a whole new sight.
Watching each player slide down the steep, overwhelming hills were absolutely mesmerizing. It was noticeable that they completely overcame their disabilities, and they captivated the audience. There were a few heartbreaking moments, but the athletes showed great sportsmanship towards each other which warmed the audience’s hearts.
|[Two athletes competing against each other to qualify to the next round (Photo taken by Seungwon Choi)]
Students really appreciate Seoul Foreign School for preparing a meaningful trip to PyeongChang. With the help of this trip, some of the greatest stereotypes people had towards the Paralympics were broken, and we all learned to respect the athletes. In the future, I hope to see more people engaged in the Paralympics, just as much as the Olympics.
Seoul Foreign School
Seungwon Choi email@example.com
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