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Torch bearer and Paralympian speaks about the legacy of the Games


Torch bearer and Paralympian speaks about the legacy of the Games

Jon McCullough, a seasoned Paralympian who played for the American Paralympic men's soccer team in the 1996 and 2004 Games, speaks to sportanddev about the legacy of the 2012 Paralympics. Jon is one of the torch bearers for the Games this year.

You’ve been involved in the Paralympics since 1996. How do you feel global attitudes have changed towards the Paralympic Games over the years, and what is the main driver behind this change?

I do recognize a global awareness of the ability of individuals with a disability to succeed as a result of the Games. With greater visibility, there is an introduction to the drive, passion and commitment to success from these athletes.

This is inspiring from the standpoint that it showcases their ability to be the best in the world as an athlete. This changes the perception and starts to knock down barriers in how people place limitations on anyone.

As for the main drive for this change, that comes directly from the character of each and every athlete in the Paralympic movement. These athletes have not just excelled in sport. But, they have proven to be great role models and leaders in their communities and in society as a whole on a global scale. 

You will play a special role this year as a torch bearer for the Paralympic Games. What do you hope will be the legacy of this year’s event for disability sport? Will the Games play a role in increasing accessibility to sport?

For me, to carry the torch for these games is an immense honor. I see the legacy of these games to be one that has come full circle, back to the roots of the Paralympic movement to gain more leverage in order to take a new step forward.

These games in London bring a new level of growth to the athletes as we embrace where we originated from. It will light a flame inside each athlete to expand their reach to not just a larger audience, but to more individuals who can grow from their involvement in sport that transcends into every aspect of their life. 


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Heather Elgar


Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 23:00

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