PYEONGCHANG, South Korea —The perfect Winter Paralympic welcoming ceremonies greeted the USA Team in Royal Korean fashion with traditional festive masks, drums, and gift exchanging. On this particularly chilly day, after two days of blizzard, the tree’s branches were bowing to the athletes. That didn’t stop the optimistic anticipation on what led ahead. Team USA was surrounded by Team New Zealand, Hungary, and Kazakhstan as each Chef de Missions came forward to exchange gifts in friendship to the Pyeongchang’s Paralympic Village Mayor, Park Eun-soo.
At the ceremony the Paralympic Mural was signed by each representative expressing their global hope and to show support for the most comprehensive human rights document in the world, the United Nations (UN) Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this being one of the most relevant aspects of the Paralympic movement breaking down barrier and creating equity for all people.
The para-athletes were treated to a mash-up of traditional Korean performance and instruments. They were joyfully joined by an inclusive break-dance team that was the spirit of the Paralympic determination.
The athletes at the end had a great time. They were cheery, energetic, filled with emotion and ready to tackle the competition ahead of them. Overall, the games are all about the positive social experiences held in the realm of driven feats of athleticism.