It is now a week since the torch for the XXI Winter Olympiad went dark, but it is about to come alive again for the Paralympic Games. A new group of athletes, no less godlike in their abilities, will grace Olympus with their presence. With courage greater than any of us understand, they will take to the ice and to the slopes to demonstrate that their abilities are far beyond most of ours. And in doing so, they will enable us.
Years ago, when we still lived in the Colorado mountains, I had the absolute honor of being a ski guide to the head of what was then called B.O.L.D. (Blind Outdoor Leisure Development - you can read something about it in the "Rocky Mountain High" subhead of this 2001 article from Delicious Living magazine). Peter was a remarkable person who drew in and connected with others who today continue his dream in so many ways. We spent many hours skiing the mountains of Aspen and Snowmass. We would laugh, joke and enjoy the sun and the powder. It was so relaxed that occasionally - very occasionally - I would forget that I was Peter's "eyes." That's how good he was.
I also got to ski with Paralympian Chris Young when he attended the Disabled Vets Winter Sports Clinic. On one leg, Chris could ski me into the ground.
I don't think I've ever really known a disabled athlete. Challenged? Yes. Disabled? No. These men and women embody those words written on the wall at the Olympic Training Center."Citius, Altius, Fortius." Faster, Higher, Stronger. Watch in awe and tremendous respect as these 21st Century gods teach us all about what real ability is as their Games begin!
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