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Where was the passion?

When Team GB came fourth in the Beijing Olympics last month, I was ridiculously proud of my nation. Now as the Paralympics have ended, may I say I am blown away by the medal haul the Blighty team is bringing home. However, one thing I am not proud of is the lack of press coverage the Paralympics received in comparison to the GB Olympic team.

Now I'm not going to bring Political Correctness into this (I hate the concept), but it doesn't seem fair that the same passion was demonstrated by the Paralympic athletes for their sports, yet these achievements were paled in comparison... that their results were somehow diminished in the public consciousness, merely because they weren't as heavily-reported in comparison to the Olympic squad - from pitiful TV coverage (two hours tops daily on BBC2 - the Olympics took over the daily schedule on BBC1 and BBC2), to barely-there press inches and pictures.

Yes, the GB Olympic squad racked up a respectable 19 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze - placing us 4th overall - but the Paralympic squad came 2nd with 42 gold, 29 silver and 31 bronze medals! They doubled the Olympic haul. I will be watching the home-coming coverage of the Paralympic team, but it wouldn't surprise me if it isn't as heavily-reported as the reception three weeks ago. Sadly, it seems the dreams of success have been painted as being worth less, and that's dreadful.

Passion is passion. Whether it is passion to make a Pipe Dream come true, or enjoying another's passion, to experience passion is a spectacular moment. The tug at the back of your eyeballs - that stab of emotion - when you live through a moment that gives you goosebumps.

The look that says it all - the look that says: I did this. I gave it my all, and this is what I achieved. The curling of the lips, the widening of the eyes, the glow lighting up the face, and the punching of the air. This is so much more pleasurable to see than the nation's flag adorning the winner's body and the blaring out of the national anthem. It's about the athlete, the athlete who gave it their all, the athlete who succeeded. Yes, a nation's triumph is included in this, but the achievement of passion runs much deeper than national pride - there's nothing else quite like it.

I could go on and on and make this more eloquent, but passion isn't about eloquence - it's about letting go and falling into it - it's about being free of inhibitions and worry. There's no need to dress it up because it is what it is. Those who understand passion don't try to control it - it can't be controlled. It's a runaway urge, an all-consuming urge, and that's what makes it everything when it is fulfilled. Exhilarating. Exhausting. Emotional.

So, here's to the medal-winners, but not only to those, here's to every participant of the GB Paralympics team. From those who got the gold, to those who didn't place in the finals. Regardless of your successes or failures, you showed and experienced great passion, and that is a prize in itself no one can ever take away from you. You deserve it.

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