A 2018 Winter Paralympic Games Reflection

Emily Hoskins holding up a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics

Emily Hoskins, a Paralympic athlete at both the 2004 and 2008 games, reflects on her journey to the Paralympics and all the hard work she put in to win gold. 

The Paralympics are incredibly close to my heart, as I am a former Paralympic athlete. I was a part of the U.S. women’s basketball team that won back to back gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Paralympics. 

The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960 and the Paralympic movement has been growing ever since. Unfortunately, due to minimal media coverage, many people still don’t know what the Paralympics are all about. 

The Paralympic Games are for elite athletes with any variety of physical disabilities. The Paralympics are named as such because they are run “in-parallel” with the Olympic Games. Too often, the Paralympic Games are confused with the Special Olympics, which are for athletes with developmental and cognitive disabilities. The Paralympics are held every four years over a three week period immediately following the Olympic Games. There are 20 sports at the Paralympic Games, and these events are all held in the same venues with the same fanfare as the Olympics. 

When athletes are up on that stand, with their medal around their neck, hearing their national anthem, every breath will have been worth it. 

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Tennessee Disability Coalition

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