This weekend I watched the documentary Rising Phoenix. It is about a couple of athletes that participate in the Paralympics and they explain their own stories. I think it is really cool that they can do what able body people can do and a lot of the time beat most all of them.
Dean-Baptist Alaize is from Africa, competes in the long jump and is missing one leg. One thing he said that was interesting is "I like running and jumping because in the war I was not fast enough, now I am". Dean-Baptist was born as a normal child but when he was 3 years old Africa was under attack and him and his mom tried to run away but they were not fast enough. That is how he lost his leg, there were people chasing them with machetes and when they caught him they cut his leg off and then he had to watch his mother be murdered right in front of him. Overcoming that and wanting to run, the same thing he almost died from not doing fast enough is very surprising to me.
Bebe Vio is from Italy, competes in fencing and is missing both arms and legs. An interesting fact she said was " When my coach told me there was wheelchair fencing for the Paralympics I said I didn't want to do it because I wanted to fence as a normal person". Bebe was born as a normal child that loved to do fencing but one day she had a really bad headache. The next day they found out she had an infection and might have to get here leg amputated to live. She did go back to fencing and went to the Paralympics for fencing and won at London.
Jonnie Peacock is from great Brittan, he is a runner in the Paralympics and has one leg. Something interesting he said was "I hoped the crowd would cheer a little for me compared to Oscar, and they were chanting my name while we were in the block so I told them to quiet down". The other athletes said how they got there disability but Jonnie did not so I don't know how he lost his leg. If he did not only have one leg from birth it was early in life because there is a video of him riding a bike as a child with only one leg. Oscar also ran in the normal Olympics which is very cool since he is missing both of his legs.
Ellie Cole is from Australia, she is a swimmer in the Paralympics with one leg. An interesting thing she said was " I wanted to be the fastest person in my squad regardless of having one leg". Ellie was born as a normal child and she wanted to be a ballerina. But one day while her mom was changing her she found a bump behind her leg. The next day they found out she had a rare form of cancer. So they tried to do therapy but it was making her more sick. So her mom had to make a decision, and they amputated her leg.
Matt Stutzman is from Iowa, he is an archer with no arms. A very interesting fact he said was "The Iraq team was shooting right next to us and we had people on our team that were injured in Iraq". Matt was born with no arms and his parents put him up for adoption. His adoptive parents didn't modify their house for him and he had to learn everything himself with no help. One day he saw his brother climb an apple tree and wanted to do it and his dad said if you get up by yourself you have to get down yourself and he said he was stuck up there for 40 minutes trying to get down. He says that from that day he learned a very valuable lesson.
Ryley Batt is from Australia, he does wheel chair rugby and has no legs and missing some fingers. An interesting thing he said was "I had no interest in being in a wheel chair". Ryley was born with no legs but no one in his family wanted anything to do with him besides his grandpa. His parents didn't modify their house either for him and he had to learn everything himself with no modifications or people helping him. When he was 3 1/2 years old his grandpa bought him a quad. He says that his grandfather treated him like a normal child so he wouldn't need people to help him during his life.
Before this movie I already knew that disabled people could beat most able body people because of Matt Stutzman. But this would be a good movie for people to watch if they had no idea that disabled people do sports and beat most everyone at that sport. Bebe Vio does fencing and the whole concept is the same but she does it sitting in a wheel chair not standing which if you tried to do she would most probably beat you so bad that she would score all the points and you would score none. This documentary was very good for me to watch since Matt told me about it. I never heard of the Paralympics before that and I think it's very cool that there are not just two people in each sport, but the sports are full.
Originally published in the September 2020 edition of The Young Archers of BowJunky Media