The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and international partner Allianz have launched a video series “Chasing Greatness” aimed at inspiring the next generation of Para athletes.
On Thursday (5 December), the first of 10 episodes was released across the IPC and Allianz digital channels, telling the story of 20-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki’s recovery from a tragic bus accident in April 2018 carrying members of his Canadian junior ice hockey team.
The Humboldt Broncos’ team bus crashed with a semi-trailer at an intersection in rural Canada, killing 16 people and seriously injuring 13 others. Straschnitzki was one of the survivors, and the five-minute film shows his fight and will to get back to the sport he loves.
The film focusses also on how Para ice hockey Paralympic champion Kevin Rempel and his former teammate-turned-coach Chris Cederstrand encourage and support Straschnitzki.
The role of Paralympic mentors will especially be a common theme across the series. Allianz and its affiliated National Paralympic Committees (NPC) partnered to pair aspiring Paralympic hopefuls with a local Paralympic hero who act as mentors.
Some episodes will extend beyond one athlete to focus on powerful storylines that showcase how technology and sport are transforming lives of persons with disabilities across the world.
The videos will be released bi-weekly, with the next scheduled release on 19 December, and can be watched here.
Craig Spence, IPC Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, said: “We know that Para sport is a powerful tool that can be a life-changer for many, and the best people who can exemplify that are Paralympians themselves.
“That is why we are excited to partner with Allianz and connect aspiring Para athletes with mentors who can show them the ins-and-outs of the particular Para sport. Each interaction has a special story, and we want to tell and share those stories in the best way possible.”
Eike Bürgel, Global Head of Olympic and Paralympic Programme at Allianz SE, added: “The Chasing Greatness series is an exciting opportunity to engage with the next generation of athletes and secure the future success of global Para sport.
“Working together with the IPC, Allianz is committed to celebrating athletes at the heart of the Paralympic Movement as they continue to inspire the world.”