2012-08-18 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) It’s been a week since the spectacular closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. The medals have been won and the Olympic flag is now in Rio De Janeiro. But for those who are lamenting the end of this sporting event, rest assured there is more to come in the form of the Paralympic Games.
During the Olympics, athletes were able to avail of facilities provided by the different faiths. The Christian Churches had Chaplains on hand, help for the homeless during the games, peace initiatives and liturgical celebrations and this commitment will continue during the Paralympics.
James Parker is the Catholic Executive Co-ordinator of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. He says the Olympics could be called the faith games because “we have seen so many people witnessing to their faith.”
Looking back over the highlights of the greatest sporting event on earth he recalls, “certainly from the Churches perspective probably the greatest highlight has been something called the Joshua Camp, the international camp we held for several hundred young people from twenty one countries from across the world and they met together for the last two weeks of the games itself, thirteen days in total actually, and the sense of community that they have built up with one another has been a microcosmos of what’s been happening in and around the athlete village.”
With the Paralympics opening at the end of August, James Parker tells Lydia O’Kane that the success of the Olympic Games has further motivated the Paralympians.
“There’s a real strong sense of excitement in the heart of people about the Paralympics because we know that it isn’t just extraordinary sport as the Olympics have been but it’s almost sort of super extraordinary sport if I can say that, because we know that every one of the Paralympians has in some way had to overcome their own obstacles and their own challenges in life to be able to get where they are.”
The London 2012 Paralympic Games begin August 29th and run until the 9th of September. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with James Parker