Inside Incredible Athletes – how they’ve achieved despite disabilities

Have you ever wondered what enables people with severe disabilities to perform to such astonishing athletic levels ready for the 2012 paralympics? Then watch Channel 4’s Inside Incredible Athletes with fascinating insights into not only a range of paralympic sports, but also how these sporting giants are able to achieve.

Inside Incredible Athletes - wheelchair rugby - image -

Examining five different paralympic sports; swimming, wheelchair rugby, blind football, horseriding and blade running, it questions how these athletes manage to perform despite impairments. How is it possible for someone to play football blind? How, if the muscles around their lungs don’t work to inflate them properly, can someone exert themselves in a wheelchair? When a swimmer’s cerebral palsy means one side of her body is weaker than the other, why is her best stroke a symmetrical one?

Looking at the biology behind how these athletes’ bodies work, the programme concludes that disabilities can sometimes be beneficial in the pursuit of sporting excellence as they are seen to “break through the predicted limits.” Let me explain.. as an example, with the wheelchair rugby, tests show that using a wheelchair  is faster than running on foot and requires less energy and is thus more efficient – when used by someone who is highly trained of course. Or running on a blade can be faster as it is able to pick up more momentum than a foot which can slow a person down.

Inside Incredible Athletes - Blade running - image -

Horserider Lee Pearson, who was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita meaning he has reduced joint mobility, often competes against able-bodied riders and wins. His astounding ability comes from years of training and strengthening the part of his body that he can control, his hips.

Examples like these show how we are able to adapt and sometimes improve on what we have. It’s all a case of technique, development and most importantly adaptation; “you look at reality you can’t change things it’s just how you deal with them… You have two options, you can do f**k all, or you can do everything you want… why would you want to miss such opportunities” (Mandip Sehmi).

So whether you are an avid paralympic sports fan, or curious of how it all works, you’ll be amazed by the achievements of these athletes. They make seemingly impossible tasks look easy, I mean who can say they have competed at Olympic level! As one wheelchair rugby player so poignantly states, “it shouldn’t have taken me the loss of two 3rds of my body to make the most of the last 3rd, but it did” (Steve Brown).

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September 2, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Sport.


  1. wanderingsight replied:

    This was such an inspiring show to anyone, anywhere. I told everyone I know to watch it and I made sure they did !

  2. Jamie Iomo replied:

    Good Afternoon

    Awesome post, just want to say thanks for the share

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