Dear Proud Paralympians and Para athletes,
I hope that your final preparations for Rio 2016 are going well and that you are looking forward to being centre stage, where you belong, at the Paralympic Games.
I am writing to tell you about an exciting venture which we will re-launch during the build-up to this year’s Paralympics.
For the past year, we have been working on something called Proud Paralympian. It is essentially a series of activities and materials that we hope will help you in your career both on and off the field of play.
You will see a lot about this during Rio 2016, including in the Athlete Dining Hall where there will be activities and giveaways between 5-18 September.
When I was playing wheelchair basketball, I often wondered how I could find out more about my rights as a citizen and athlete, anti-doping and how to transition to a career after sport.
Had Proud Paralympian been around then it would have helped me to find the answers to these questions and many more. And that is what I hope it will do for you too.
There are only three things that you need to do to be a Proud Paralympian.
- Know the Paralympic values and foundation of the Movement
- Respect your body and its limits
- Have an exit strategy from sport towards a career
- Know your rights as an athlete and citizen
- Always give your best on and off the field of play
- Say no to doping
- Respect the rules, opponents and fans
- Be a role model
- Take part in athlete elections and get involved in how your sport is run
- Be skilled in social and traditional media
- Find ways to talk about your experiences and share your knowledge with others
Proud Paralympian aims to help you do all this and more. Even before you arrive in Rio, you can find out more about it at www.paralympic.org/athletes/proud-paralympian. There is also a video which explains more.
You may have also heard about the International Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council, which represents your voice and rights within the Paralympic Movement. During Rio 2016 there will be elections and every athlete can vote – why not start showing you are a #ProudParalympian by taking part?
There are a record 22 candidates and you can find out how to vote and who they are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also change your profile picture to show you are a Proud Paralympian. If you do not have access to social media, visit the website: www.paralympic.org/athletes-council.
You can also follow Proud Paralympian on social media to show that you are a #ProudParalympian.
I am very much looking forward to seeing you in action at Rio 2016 and I hope that you can find the time to visit the Proud Paralympian team, including some famous names, in the Athlete Dining Hall during the Games.
Sir Philip Craven MBE