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Now it's time for the London 2012 Paralympic Games — the grand finale of a spectacular summer of sport. High Life's columnist and champion heptathlete applauds our world-class athletes who have their sights on gold
It's September and the Paralympic Games have now taken centre stage. One Paralympian said to me, 'The Olympic Games are just the warmup', and for this particular Games perhaps it's true. The Paralympics have never been held in such high regard; we've never had such a strong team.
In the last Paralympic Games in Beijing we came second on the medal table and we have high hopes of repeating that same feat at least, with great performances from fantastic athletes such as Shelly Woods and David Weir, swimmer Ellie Simmonds and equestrian Lee Pearson.
They will have the home advantage — as all Team GB have had — it's something very special to compete in your own country. Nothing can replace that magical feeling of hearing your name being called by thousands and having your every move applauded. The positivity is infectious — it gives you the feeling that you're already a champion.
The Paralympic Games are the grand finale of this summer of
sport and the celebrations will continue right through September.
The excitement and party-like atmosphere that's been rippling up
and down the country has continued to build and build — ever since
the Jubilee. It's been an amazing time for London and for the whole
of the UK. You can only ever create such positive energy with big
events like this.
The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will leave a lasting legacy, of course. But more than the buildings left behind, it's about the inspiration London 2012 will have provided to all the children who have watched and been motivated to think that anything's possible. Watching the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games was so inspiring to me as a child. Learning about the Games at school and seeing them take place in your own country has got to have even more impact. Hopefully the Games will inspire children to believe they can do something special with their own lives and encourage adults to think about what they can do better. It's one of the powerful messages of London 2012 — try to be more than you thought you could be. It's what every athlete strives for.
Now as it all draws to a close, it's time to congratulate everyone who's been involved — the volunteers, the organisers, the sponsors — it's been a massive concerted effort by so many people. It's been a time for great national pride and something we will never forget.
Read Denise Lewis's columns on the Olympic medal winners, the Olympic opening ceremony, coping with the pressure of competitionthe UK's torchbearers.