Tag Archive for 'paralimpiadi'

How to live the pre-olympic year

Less than a year until the upcoming 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in Paris, and I wonder what this year will be like for athletes, teams, and staff. The Olympic Games maintain their timeless allure that goes beyond the commercialization of sports. Many aspire to go there at least once in their sports careers, and the stress associated with this participation is intense for everyone. Of the Italian athletes participating in the Olympics, only about 15% will return with a medal.

However, this year should not be lived solely through stress, sacrifices, and fears but also with the enthusiasm of those who feel committed to achieving a great goal without being crushed by it. We aim high to achieve a result, whatever it may be for each individual, but we enjoy our daily lives.

We have now become aware that there is no distinction between the individual and the athlete; they are not two separate entities residing in the same body. There are no two different people, one of whom must sacrifice to satisfy the other. Research conducted among elite athletes consistently shows that their performance depends on their motivation, dedication to this profession which is sports, their coaches and the staff working with them, and their family and friends – in other words, their primary social environment.

Their performance largely depends on the effective integration of these elements. There will always be exceptions to this approach, but this does not represent the rule. Therefore, it is desirable that the culture of integration, which recognizes the value of the overall well-being of athletes and their lives, continues to spread.

How to increase sport among people with disabilities

10 target points to increase sport participations among people with disabilities. 

Catherine Carty, Hidde P. van der Ploeg, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Fiona Bull, Juana Willumsen, Lindsay Lee, Kaloyan Kamenov, and Karen Milton (2021). The First Global Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Guidelines for People Living With Disability.  Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 18, 86-93

10 target areas Actions needed
1. Awareness Tailored awareness campaigns are needed to draw attention to the inequity experienced by people living with disability in relation to physical activity. Emphasis on disability as an interaction between a health condition, personal characteristics, and the environment will help reduce exclusion and point to the broad range of sectors and actions that are needed to cocreate inclusive physical activity solutions.
2. Communication Communication campaigns for promoting physical activity and limiting sedentary behavior need to be targeted at and accessible to people with a wide variety of impairments through a variety of formats and technologies. General communication messages need to avoid ableist language and sentiment and be universally accessible.
3. Environment Inclusive access to local amenities, facilities, and services, including green spaces, blue spaces, and networks, may require new products, technologies, environmental changes, supportive relationships, and inclusive social attitudes. Safe and connected active transport should be made accessible for people living with disability so that they can participate more independently where they live, work, play, or go to school. This will help limit sedentary behavior and increase physical activity among people living with disability.
4. Training Training and education providers need to supply inclusive practitioners across sectors that impact physical activity and sedentary behavior to meet the specific needs of people living with disability. Disability awareness training for a broad range of community stakeholders (professionals to volunteers) would build much-needed understanding and help reduce the disabling impact of the social and physical environment.
5. Partnership Facilitating inclusion in and through physical activity is a whole of society issue. Multidisciplinary partnerships from national policy to local delivery levels are needed to address barriers and facilitators to create opportunities for participation. They must involve disability service organizations and people living with disability. Dedicated disability sport inclusion staff, working with disability organizations, can support the inclusion of individuals with disability in physical activity at community levels.
6. Research Mechanisms to gather disaggregated data on participation in physical activity, sedentary behavior, and disability are essential to monitor progress in participation on all levels—local, national, and international. An increased volume and quality of research exploring barriers and enablers to physical activity and its effects, along the disability continuum and across the domains of functioning (including life activities and participation), are needed to inform effective inclusive policy solutions and public health interventions.
7. Human rights Protecting, respecting, and fulfilling human rights with and for people with disability in and though physical activity are critical, including targeted interventions for those enduring intersectional discrimination. Increased understanding of roles and responsibilities pertaining to human rights is needed and must transfer to inclusive actions, advocacy, and investments across multiple sectors.
8. Programs Community-based physical activity programs need to consider disability-specific accommodations (across fully inclusive to segregated activities) and universal design principles. Facilitating choice in programming is critical, as is the need to provide opportunities to build positive experiences, beginning early in childhood.
9. Investment Investment is needed across sectors to advance disability inclusion in and through physical activity, in line with human rights obligations. It can be tailored according to means through innovative approaches. Appropriate and effective practical measures, or “reasonable accommodations,” such as assistants, carers, and assistive technologies, should be provided to help people living with disability to be active and to limit sedentary behavior.
10. Governance Creating inclusive societies requires significant changes at governance and policy levels. Disability inclusion in public health and physical activity should be mainstreamed through policies and legal frameworks. Partnerships, finance, and all relevant organs of society should be mobilized to address disability inclusion. With broad interagency governance structures, physical activity can be a driver of inclusive action in broader society.

What to do after the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Source: English Institute of Sport

For those who compete, coach or form the vital support teams around athletes, the Olympic and Paralympic journey is full of emotion, from elation to disappointment and everything in between. Each Games is unique and the postponement of Tokyo 2020, the on-going pandemic and the COVID safe measures at the Games, are just some of the additional factors that will contribute to the waves of emotion that all involved are likely to go through.

Experiencing a range of emotions before, during and after the Games is completely normal and in a bid to help athletes and support staff to positively process the emotional experience of the Tokyo 2020 Games, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) Psychology team will be working closely with sports on a post-Games period of Performance Decompression. This applies to those who have attended the Games, and those providing remote support whether technical or operational. We have all been in this together.

Head of Performance Psychology at the EIS Dr Kate Hays explained:“Utilising knowledge from research both in sport and the military, alongside extensive practical experience, we have evolved existing decompression processes. We have created this process to help all involved in the Games to transition from one cycle to the next in the most effective manner possible. This hopefully provides the opportunity to reflect on and recognize what has been experienced, gain a sense of closure, and facilitate a smoother transition to what comes next.

“During decompression, there will be time for congratulations on what has been achieved, contextualizing experiences and for the management of expectations concerning return to training or moving on to the next chapter.

“We will be working really closely with our Mental Health and Performance Lifestyle teams so that any stress experienced can be effectively acknowledged, monitored and appropriate referrals can be instigated.”

The four phases of the decompression process are as follows and the EIS Psychology Team will facilitate guidance around ‘Time Zero’ (stage 2) and training on ‘Process the Emotion’ (stage 3):

  • Hot debrief
  • Time Zero
  • Process the Emotion
  • Performance debrief

Time Zero focuses on restorative care to create balance in a soothing space where no focus is on achievement. This break involves:

  • Live in the moment – engage in the now
  • Ride the wave – know that it’s okay to feel a range of emotions
  • Connect with others – be with friends and family

The next stage is Process the Emotion, which focuses on making sense of the emotion that surrounds performance and is split into six phases. This stage will celebrate the positive and explore what was challenging. It will also highlight strengths and skills which can be utilised in the next steps.

Whilst this work was developed for sports and athletes who have been in Tokyo for the Olympics and Paralympics, the decompression process will also be rolled out to staff at the EIS.

Towards the end of 2020, the Psychology team launched Lockdown Debrief training within the EIS to help our people process the pandemic and the range of experiences we all went through.

As well as experiencing the debrief themselves, Line Managers were upskilled to deliver the training to ensure everyone at the EIS had the opportunity to participate in a Lockdown Debrief. This same approach will be utilised with ‘Processing the Emotion’ of the Games.

Rolling this decompression work out across the EIS will allow everyone to process the Olympic and Paralympic Games, something our staff have worked towards and contributed to during this unique cycle, whilst tying into our values of We Care and We Collaborate.

Paralimpic Games: Abbas Karimi unbelievable story

Abbas Karimi is one of six athletes on the refugee team present in Tokyo. Karimi is 24 years old, born without arms, Afghan and is a swimmer. In 2013, he escaped with his brother to Turkey via Iran. His dream was to become a Paralympic champion.

Through Facebook he managed to find a football coach in Oregon, Mike Ives, who helped him go to the United States with refugee status and live with him. He found a swim team and so he began to train. In 2017 he won silver at the Paralympic World Swimming Championships, in the 50m butterfly. Since then he has not stopped training and during the pandemic he moved to Florida to train in an outdoor pool with another coach from whom he also went to live.

Of him, his new coach says, “I could see him as a superhero, sort of a mix between Aquaman, Superman and Spider-Man, with all his abilities.”

One of his best friends suggested that when his thoughts remind him of what’s going on in Afghanistan, “You’ve been working hard for as long as I’ve known you, and there’s so much going on in Afghanistan, keep your mind clear and focused on your approach.”

His story is an unbelievable one, one of the many we encounter at the Paralympics.

Afghan-born swimmer wins silver at World Para Swimming Series - The Khaama  Press News Agency

The Paralympics story

This month should have seen the ending of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, as well as the beginning of the Paralympics.

On August 26, when the Paralympics would have been on, streaming service Netflix will premiere the documentary Rising Phoenix, all about the history of the movement and the incredible stories of the athletes featured, including Ellie Cole, Jonnie Peacock and Tatyana McFadden.

Rising Phoenix | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube


Sport changes the individual and community perception about disability

“Sport has the ability to change the perception

of the community about people with a disability

and, more importantly,

how people with a disability think and feel about themselves.”

Richard Nicholson, nine-time Paralimpic gold medallist

Risultati immagini per Richard Nicholson

Recruitment: Performance psychologist for GB paralimpic swimming team

After sailing in Great Britain it’s time for Paralympic swimming  to recruit one performance psychologist for the next 4 years, interesting compensation and permanent job.

… And then we wonder why  GB sport has become so successful, even investing on psychologists.

Welcome back champions!

The Paralympic Games are the ultimate expression of competitive sport for persons with disabilities, with a media very significant level of visibility. The stories of these athletes are, unfortunately, almost told only this time, and the same is true for their performances, which often are truly outstanding in quality and intensity of effort. Athletes’ photos and videos show this very well and it is impossible not to be involved.

They are people who in the De André’s words march “in obstinate and contrary direction” compared to the culture of sedentary lifestyle, based on the conception the physical and psychological limits are only editable through medical , surgical and therapeutic interventions. Paralympic athletes, however, show that there is always a way to get out of a limiting condition, as Bebe Vio, gold in fencing, says speaking of her return to sport: “I always knew that I could go back to doing fencing. When asked the doctors, I can say, they spit in my eyes. When I asked those of prostheses, they laughed. But I immediately realized that I would be able to return.” The same applies for Alex Zanardi when dissatisfied of the prostheses on the market, he designed by himself a couple of new artificial legs, with the purpose of returning to racing.

Welcome back champions. Here there is much to do to spread the idea that sport is a dress that everyone can cut to his/her measure. Usually sports who win medals at the Olympics, in the following year, enjoy an increase in their membership. It occurred in skiing when Alberto Tomba won, with Luna Rossa in sailing or swimming in the era of Rosolino and mates. I’m not so optimistic for the sport for the disabled, in Italy there are few clubs who deal with it and most of the young people with disabilities of school age are sedentary. The successes of these Paralympics could however favor  the changes, especially among children and adolescents, because despite all its negativity (doping, excessive emphasis only on competitive results) sport continues to be one of the pillars in the search for freedom and autonomy that always draws the human being.

Federico Morlacchi, a fighter fish

Federico Morlacchi who won a gold and a silver (for the moment) to the Rio Paralympics is one of the “Fish Fighters“. It’s a docu film about a swimmer group, Paralympic swimming champions, and their preparation in Milan ahead of the Paralympic Games in Rio, with the AcquaRio project, multidisciplinary team involving coaches, dieticians, psychologists, trainers. The “Fish Fighters’ are Federico Morlacchi, Arjola Trimi, Alessia Berra, Arianna Talamona, Giulia Ghiretti, Fabrizio Sottile, Francesca Secci, Simone Barlaam e Giuseppe Romele. Young people with different stories and disability that in this year of workouts have become a team.

Risultati immagini per pesci combattenti morlacchi


We’re The Superhumans | Rio Paralympics 2016

Unbelievable video to celebrate the young Superhumans of Paralimpics