While what is considered the best ever Paralympics have come to an end, I am still basking in the memories of experiencing something that I’ll possibly never have the opportunity to. And, even if I attend more, it is the first time that lingers the longest in memory. During my week, I took pictures endlessly and will be sharing them over the next few weeks. This first batch is of the opening ceremony. I must admit that, generally, I’ve never been big on opening or closing ceremonies and more interested in the sport. I saw neither of the Olympics ceremonies, other than the infrequent ‘glimpse’ on Twitter. It is one thing to watch on telly and another to be there, submerged in an experience that engages with all your senses.
Travelling as part of SA Paralympics Supporters wave, representing the sponsors, in my case Mercedes Benz SA, I was lucky enough to both interact with some of the athletes, the other sponsors and people from sports administration. I was also able to visit the Olympic Village and watch a couple of different events.
The Opening Ceremony was a spectacle with a simple message: nothing is impossible. Partly narrated by Stephen Hawking, the journey we were taken on was inspiring and mildly mesmerising. To see athletes come out and be celebrated, regardless of country or disability, was beautiful. The Queen of England was there with 80,000 human beings from all over the world packed into the Olympic Park stadium. There were so many moments culminating in the flame being brought in from above the stadium and the flame was lit by 84 year old Margaret Maughan who was Great Britain’s first ever gold medallist at the inaugural Rome Paralympics in 1960 when she participated in the archery competition.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. They were shot using a Sony A77 with a killer 70 – 400 lens.
The music in the video belongs to SA producer/rapper Amunishn