Paralympics: Superhumans Wanted


Blind soccer players. Amputee high jumpers. Wheelchair daredevils. Armless drummers. And so much more. Britain’s Channel 4 TV network celebrates — and this is a word too seldom associated with the topic — the incredible physical and cultural accomplishments of people with physical disabilities in a wide-ranging, up-tempo promotional spot for its coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games which begin in September.

Built around Sammy Davis Jr.’s finger-snapping “Yes I Can,” the piece features more than 140 people who have ignored their ‘disabilities’ to accomplish superhuman feats of athletic, creative – and everyday – achievement. Swing dancers with prosthetic legs, limbless airplane pilots and an incredible jazz pianist with underdeveloped arms and hands are all celebrated in unaffected performances of what they’re good at – defying the conventional notion that people with disabilities are defined by what they’re not good at. That unfortunate view inserts itself stunningly into the final frames, a sober jolt of today’s prejudiced reality.

Channel 4 CMO Dan Brooke describes the tone as “an unbridled celebration of ability, by both elite Paralympians and everyday people. In 2012 we saw athletes like never before, but now we see that Down’s Syndrome graduates and wheelchair users in the workplace are just as Superhuman as blind sprinters and amputee weightlifters.”

Each of the 140 performers earns her or his way into the title’s characterization of these exceptional people as “The Superhumans.” If you’re in need of a lift check out the main version:

And if you’d like to learn more about a few of the more interesting Superhumans, you’ll also find links to individual spots featuring professional racing driver Bartek Ostalowski, MMA fighter G Money and saxophonist Neil Duncan among others. We guarantee you’ll be posting at least a few of these spots for your friends to see.

Steve Harty

Photo Credit: Paralympics runner courtesy of Pixabay.

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