With the conclusion of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio this past Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II has sent a personal message to all Paralympic athletes from the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth.
This is not the first time Her Majesty has addressed athletes from the UK and the Commonwealth. These Games, however broke records. Matthew Centrowitz won Gold in the 1,500 metre race in the Olympic Games. His record was broken by the first four Paralympic athletes to run that race. There were plenty of tears and controversy during these games as well. From low ticket sales in the beginning to Prince Harry making a personal donation to make the Games accessible to Rio’s children.
The reality of being an athlete with a disability was visible on the world stage as Belgian silver medalist, Marieke Vervoort, who suffers from a degenerative muscular disease will undergo euthanasia. She signed papers to start this process in 2008, which is legal in Belgium. However, Vervoort still feels she has a reason to live and that is sport. A moment of silence was observed during the closing ceremonies in remembrance of an athlete who was fatally wounded during his event.
“I offer my warmest congratulations to the athletes of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and indeed to the athletes of all Commonwealth countries, for their many successes in Rio de Janeiro. As the 2016 Paralympic Games draw to a close, I offer my warmest congratulations to the athletes of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and indeed to the athletes of all Commonwealth countries, for their many successes in Rio de Janeiro. The magnificent performance of ParalympicsGB this year reflects the talent and commitment of the athletes and their support teams. I send my good wishes to all those who have contributed to the success of these memorable Games.”