Paralympics People, Places and Dog

At the Paralympic Park yesterday there were lots of wheelchair users. People in electric chairs, self-propelled with muscle power, pushed by attendant. A few people using sticks. But no assistance dogs.
Then I saw Cody. He was lying down, so I approached the man with him and asked if I could stroke him.

Cody the Assistance Dog

I got the go ahead. Cody was one of the most relaxed dogs I have ever met. He settled his chin onto my arm when I spoke to the man with him who turned out to be minding him while his son, Cody’s human partner, was enjoying one of the attractions close by. Cody is a fetch and carry dog, sponsored by Dogs for the Disabled which just happens to be one of my favourite charities. He’s three years old and was due to be filmed by, I think, Sky, later in the day. It turned out I wasn’t the only one surprised at the lack of assistance dogs in the park. Cody’s minder had only spotted two others, both guide dogs for the blind. I hope if more dogs start turning up they won’t be met with the same lack of water bowls that Cody faced.
The Games Makers have been singled out for praise many many times during London 2012. The friend I went with yesterday interviewed people from around the world who applied to be volunteers. The system seems to have worked really well, but we were especially pleased to see this cheerful chap with his megaphone as we headed for the Aquatics Centre as we had just passed a trio of lads who should not have been given the uniform. They looked like Games Makers turned bad, huddled together, making negative comments about passers-by, they made me wonder aloud if they could possibly be doing community service. I certainly wouldn’t have been happy to approach them.

Cheerful Games Maker

Inside the Aquatics Centre we climbed to our roof level eyrie. The place was full. And the crowd was predominantly British. We could see ParalympicsGB’s poolside presence from where we sat.

ParalympicsGB Swimming

We cheered everyone, but there was a definite partisan roar for Hannah Russell. We yelled ourselves hoarse as she swam a very tight race, claiming the silver. I love the way the crowd just takes to its feet as one when excitement grips it.
Here’s Hannah diving at the start of the race.

Hannah Russell Diving to a Silver

You can see in this picture just how close a swim it was.

Neck and Neck

There’s a nice piece about Hannah and her race here, if you want to know more.

Hannah Russell’s Medal Ceremony

When Jonathan Fox appeared, the crowd’s voice surged again. Within seconds of the race starting everyone was standing up and yelling, and when he took the gold you must have been able to hear the noise for miles.

Jonathan Fox Medal Ceremony

I don’t think I have ever heard the British National anthem sung with such gusto as when these flags were raised.

Flagging the Gold

By the time we left, it was dark. we could see the flames from the cauldron through the arena.That’s where I’ll be tomorrow, in the arena, not the cauldron.

A Glimpse of Flames

The Park looked wonderful, the crowds were smiling and orderly as we streamed out to the public transport, Games Makers wishing us safe journeys and hoping we had enjoyed our day.
We had. We really had. It was wonderful. Thank-you everyone. The Paralympics, the Park, the organisers, workers and athletes. You are amazing.

Arena at Night

Anish Kapoor’s Orbit tower


17 thoughts on “Paralympics People, Places and Dog

  1. We’re off to the Olympic stadium on Sunday to watch the athletics. SOoo excited. I have written a piece about the opening ceremony on Julia’s Placr. It had quite an effect!

  2. Sounds like a glorious evening Isobel. Cody is adorable…..service animals are so amazing to me. It’s fun to hear your impressions of the games – since I’m unable to see it firsthand your descriptions are super.


  3. Thanks so much for this inspirational post. You always inspire, inform, and lift my heart. i am giving you an award– The post will be published on Sunday (here in the US)

    • Thank-you Kate. That’s very kind. I am glad you enjoyed this, especially as I understand you are having very limited coverage of these games in the US.
      I don’t do awards anymore because I am so bad at all the bits and pieces that go with them, but I love hearing that people have enjoyed my blog, so many thanks to you again.

  4. Excellent pics and blog, Isobel! Your pic (tweeted_ taken from your seat of the view below gave me a bit of vertigo!! Cody; what a sweetie. And it must have been wonderful to be part of the crowd that saw our Brit taking gold. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Jan. I had horrible fears that I would sit and tremble my way through the events, but I got settled ok and even managed to go down (for the loo and to refill our water bottles) and back up again, missing the part where Theresa May was hissed at when she came in to present medals. To miss the crush on the stairs, we stood up after the last swim and were lucky to be able to go in through a door much lower down to see the last medal ceremonies.
      Cheap seats again in the arena today, so zoom lens and monocular going into the bag. And flags.I shall be on the look out for more dogs.

  5. Isobel thanks for taking us on your excellent experience. I hope to one day witness the Olympics first hand. So interesting about the lack of assistant dogs at the paraolympics.

    • Rayya, lovely to see you here. I was surprised at the assistance dog absence. I guess you weren’t at Sydney. I was anti the Games co ing here. I am now a complete convert. Nothing compares to this.

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