Good Morning on a bright sunny cold and frosty morning in Ireland.
Today is the second part of a time when I take over the TV controls. This happens every two and four years. Yes The Olympics and Paralympics Games.
The closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea was the 25th February and now it is only hours away to the opening ceremony of the Winter Paralympics 2018 in Pyeongchang , South Korea. I am so excited.
Let me introduce you to Bandabi. He is the Mascot of the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games. He is part of Korean culture and folklore.
Ireland has never competed in the Winter Paralympic Games and it will be sad not to have any Irish athlete taking part. It is different watching without an Irish interest but it also means that I can enjoy the games in a different way.
I have always been amazed how sportspeople strive and push themselves to do better, to keep trying to achieve the next standard irrespective of sport.
However, I just love to watch winter sports. Biathlon would be my favourite sport to watch, followed by cross-country skiing. And before anyone asks..No I cannot ski. I have tried it, but having no balance it was a total disaster. I suppose knowing how difficult it is just leaves me in awe of all these winter athletes.
And so for a little bit of history.
In 1944 a spinal injuries centre was opened in Stoke Mandeville hospital in Great Britain for service men and women injured in World War Two. Sport was used in rehabilitation there. In 1948 on the same day as the opening of the London Olympics Dr. Guttmann organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for wheelchair athletes.
Four years later ex -service men and women from The Netherland took part. These games later became the Paralympic games.
The first Paralympic Games took place in Italy in 1960 with 400 athletes taking part. 1976 saw the first Winter Paralympics taking place in Sweden and 198 athletes took part. Since the Summer Olympics of Seoul in 1988 and the Winter Olympics of Albertville in 1992, The Paralympic Games have been hosted in the same cities and venues.
The International Paralympic Committee was founded in September 1989 to act as the global governing body of the paralympic movement.
The name Paralympics comes from the Greek preposition “Para” meaning alongside and “lympics” referring to the Olympic movement. It means the Paralympics are the parallel games to the Olympics.
So If I don’t answer those emails quickly enough, those texts replies are delayed or whatsapp isn’t answered you now know why. Apologies now.
Roll on the Games and good luck to all competing.