At a time when sporting action around the world has come to a grinding halt, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) along with Para athletes, partners and member nations have held firm and shown resolve in keeping the Paralympic Movement going forward.
The curtains came down on the One Year To Go #WaitForTheGreats campaign with a strong message of hope, aspiration and promise of a spectacular Paralympics in a year’s time in Tokyo.
On Sunday, 6 September, the IPC wrapped up the 1YTG campaign with a ‘Closing Ceremony’ on its channels featuring rap artists Keith Jones, Toni Hickman and Georgetragic of Krip-Hop Nation who performed the Rising Phoenix title track, along with Daniel Pemberton, the composer of the soundtrack.
The campaign, that began on 24 August, has forced the world to step back, take notice and talk about Para sports. The interactive sessions through the IPC’s website and social media channels were a virtual dress rehearsal of being a part of the mega event.
More importantly, with working and training from home being the new norm, athletes across the globe whole-heartedly chose to go that extra mile to make the #WaitForTheGreats campaign a resounding success.
Here are highlights from the past two weeks that helped keep the flame burning ahead of Tokyo 2020:-
'Rising Phoenix' Netflix movie release
The timing couldn’t have been more apt for the release of the much talked about Netflix movie ‘Rising Phoenix’, casting some of the high-profile athletes of the Movement from different continents – Tatyana McFadden, Jonnie Peacock, Matt Stutzman, Bebe Vio, Jean-Baptiste Alaize, Ellie Cole, Ryley Batt, Ntando Mahlangu and Cui Zhe. Their incredible stories defy societal discrimination to rise above all and etch their name on the world stage.
Social media reaction on the #RisingPhoenix premiere was overwhelming.
IPC's first-ever podcast
The IPC also launched its first ever podcast – ‘A Winning Mindset: Lessons From The Paralympics’ in partnership with Allianz. The empowering podcasts are not only about sport, but cover an extensive range of educational, confidence and self-improvement themes. The first two podcasts featured British Paralympic star Peacock and USA’s wheelchair racer McFadden. Listen to their inspiring achievements here.
24-hour Instagram Relay
The icing of the cake was @Paralympics’ 24-hour Instagram Live Relay that began in the evening hours in New Zealand and concluded in Mexico. But it could no’t have been more engaging and encouraging to see the athletes speak their heart out on various aspects of the sport and their life.
Some of the featured athletes were New Zealand's Anna Grimaldi, Japan's Seiya Norimatsu, Iran's Zahra Nemati, South Africa's Ntando Mahlangu and Mexico's Dulce Licona.
LA28 Emblem unveiled
LA28 also kicked off their journey to the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles by unveiled the new LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games emblem with stories celebrating sport, art and the Los Angeles community.
The Olympic and Paralympic marks are inspired by the infinite possibilities Los Angeles represents and honours creativity, diversity, self-expression and inclusion.
Greatest Paralympic Moment of the Decade
The Twitter poll that ran during the campaign with fellow tweeps getting to choose the Greatest Paralympic Moment of the Decade were revealed on Sunday. Omara Durand's hat-trick at Rio 2016 topped the charts and walked away with the honour. Sarah Storey rewriting history for her country as the most decorated female Paralympian with 25 medals was adjudged second followed by Alex Zanardi's iconic first gold medal at London 2012 settled for bronze.