The Paralympic games are nearly over and Juanjo and Raquel have each taken part in their four cycling events. Two events each in the Velodrome and another two each at Brands Hatch.
This year the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) introduced a new system of rating disabilities which meant that Juanjo and Raquel had to compete in the same races as athletes with two legs or with prosthetic legs attached to their pedals. This obviously left them at a disadvantage to most of the rest of the entrants and the IPC are now looking at further modifying the categories for the next Paralympic games. In the meantime, denied the possibility of winning medals, Juanjo and Raquel still managed excellent results in their Categories, Juanjo finishing with a fantastic 2nd in his class at the 64 km road race and Raquel with two 4th in class results and four Paralympic Certificates. Well done both of you!
Juanjo, who has just turned 48 years old, came 17th overall out of 40 starters on the Road Race. Can you imagine riding a bicycle with one arm and one leg for 64kms in a road race lasting 1 hour and 43mins! It was extraordinary.
Watching the races, after a while, you don’t see the athletes’ disabilities, you just see them pushing themselves ever harder in their efforts to be the best.
The truth is that Juanjo and Raquel won medals every day. Maybe not from the Paralympic organisation but from everyone that watched them. They are Heroes and examples to us all for their determination to overcome tragedy and to accomplish their dreams of competing at World Championship and Olympic events.
As the Tennis player Arthur Ashe said some years ago: “Success is a journey, not a destination”. The doing is more important than the outcome.