Monday, September 8, 2008
Last Saturday night, the Paralympics began here in Beijing with a gorgeous and moving opening ceremony. Apparently you can watch it online here, though I can't seem to get the site to work from within China.
One of the most powerful moments of the ceremony was the lighting of the torch (which, by the way, it's nice to see blazing again!). Three-time high jump gold medalist Hou Bin hoisted himself, his wheelchair, and the torch by pulley from the floor of the stadium all the way up to the base of the cauldron.
It took him over three minutes to reach the top, and you could clearly see the strain on his face as he struggled to continue, even pausing occasionally to rest. It was an incredibly powerful symbol both of the struggle faced by so many people with disabilities as well as the ability to succeed and overcome those struggles through perseverance.
Here's the video on YouTube:
Photo credits: 1) Reuters/David Gray via NYT; 2) Xinhua.