STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Sino-German exhibition highlights Paralympics spirit

CNC
Added On August 10, 2016

 BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- With the Olympics having just kicked off in Rio, have you ever fantasized about racing against time in an Olympic sprint, pearls of perspiration running down your face, and snatching that coveted gold medal? Probably. How about doing the same while strapped to a wheelchair?

 

At an exhibit named "The Paralympics Spirit -- From Heidelberg to Beijing" that opened on July 26 in the Olympic Training Center in Heidelberg, Germany, and runs through September, visitors can try out conventional and racing wheelchairs to get a better idea of what it is like to have impaired mobility.

Co-organized by the Beijing Municipal Archives and the Heidelberg Municipal Archives, the exhibit looks back at Heidelberg's host role in the 1972 Paralympics and Beijing's host role in the 2008 Paralympics with display panels, historical photos and a short film on the Beijing Paralympics.

Next to staff from the Heidelberg and Beijing Municipal Archives and the Chinese Consulate in Frankfurt, some of the contemporary witnesses from the 1972 Paralympics were present for the opening ceremony. For example, Hennes Luebbering, a wheelchair-bound athlete, proudly wore his medals to the opening.

Besides being a dignified platform for disabled athletes to compete with their peers, across the decades, the Paralympics have raised awareness of the everyday challenges people with disabilities face and even led to some positive changes.

The exhibit is not only a reflection on the past of the Paralympics, but more importantly a projection of the future -- namely, the social inclusion of disabled people, said Dr. Peter Blum, the director of the Heidelberg Municipal Archives in an email interview. He believed archives have a special role to play in this.

He suggested that archives should make their cultural heritage accessible to help achieve a solution to both contemporary and future problems.

"One could say that today's archives have a socio-political task, so to say, a task that transcends borders and cultural barriers," Blum said.