While the politics of scheduling the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia got lots of uproar, for good reason considering Russia’s human rights record, what’s done is done and, knock wood, the games have gone pretty well. The local dogs, feminist protestors, and LGBT community would definitely disagree, but let’s say it could have gone much worse.
While the Olympics get lots of national spirit raised in competing countries, the big event AFTER the Olympics gets our universal, global spirit perked up with the Paralympic Games. March 7-16, this competition is also in Sochi, Russia and uses the same sports facilities and venues (on which these games have already had an amazing effect: When Russian building projects got underway to host the Olympic Games, for the first time, with encouragement and coaching from the Paralympics organizers, the country mandated construction that was barrier-free so athletes and audience of all abilities can have access to the venues. Fingers crossed it sets a trend in Russia.)
The Paralympics are high-level competitive sports events for athletes with disabilities. The winter sports included in these games that follow every Olympic competition since the 1960s, are: IPC Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, IPC Ice Sledge Hockey, and Wheelchair Curling. None of these elite sports heroes are looking for sympathy, but explore the website, watch the TV coverage, and you will find yourself inspired and moved and, I suspect, feeling tremendously grateful. The human body, nurtured and honored, cannot be stopped.
From the Paralympic.org website FAQs regarding volunteering:
How can I volunteer for the Paralympic Games, World Championships and Regional Championships?
The best way to become a volunteer for the Paralympic Games, World Championships, and Regional Championships is to contact the Organizing Committees of the competitions. For the Paralympic Games, please go to www.sochi2014.com or www.rio2016.com. For World and Regional Championships, you can find a listing of events and contact information by accessing the calendar on this website.