The Beijing Paralympics are now a wrap and Canada’s Parathletes have once again done us all proud. Canada stands third overall in trips to the podium in 2022, with a whopping eight gold, six silver and 11 bronze for a total of 25 medals—only topped by host country China with 61 medals and war-beleaguered Ukraine with 25.
So much of our internal media concentration tends to be on the negative aspects of the news cycle, dominated most often by microscopic-eyed evaluations of those numerous shortcomings and challenges we face as a nation, that we tend to forget to celebrate the things that demonstrate the positive aspects of our nation and its share culture.
So often it has been said that Canada is a country without its own culture. This is patently not true and is amply demonstrated by so much that we take for granted but which continues to delight and amaze visitors to our shores.
We have much to celebrate as Canadians and chief among those aspects of our culture is a constant striving to build ourselves into even better versions of ourselves. Perhaps that is why we focus so much on where we still need to go, rather than casting our gaze around us to see how far we have come.
The physically and intellectually challenged among us still face many barriers, both physical and social, but inch by inch we have made great strides toward a more inclusive society.
There have been setbacks, and if the current vortex of social media provides any indication, some of those setbacks will be difficult to overcome. But overcome them we can, if only we maintain a steady hand on the tiller and continue to chart a course forward.
That journey has brought us to where we are today, a place where our Parathletes outperform nations much richer and many times larger in population than ourselves. Each of us can look around our communities and our own families to find those who have overcome physical or intellectual challenges to excel far beyond the expectations of even a few generations past.
We have much to be proud of as a nation, especially today as we celebrate the accomplishments of the likes of Mollie Jepson of West Vancouver, whose silver in the women’s giant slalom standing event is added to the gold she won previously in these games for a total of six medals she has garnered over her career.
Today, as the world seems bent on spiralling into madness at every turn, let us pause for a moment to savour the beauty of our land—the true North strong and free.