When the Paralympics begin tomorrow, thousands of athletes will take to the biggest stage of their lives in an attempt to achieve their dreams.
In this sense, the Paralympics are much the same as any other sporting event. They are representative of the challenges that bring humanity together. The pursuit of excellence, the heartbreak of failure, and the endless perseverance; these are the themes of life which draw our attention to sport.
Though it is easy to see what makes the Paralympians different, they are in Tokyo for the same reason as their Olympic counterparts earlier this month - their desire to compete against the best and see who comes out on top.
I was lucky enough to train with a Paralympic gold medallist during my teenage years.
On the surface, he was an unassuming man who suffered from cerebral palsy which limited use of his right arm and leg.
We studied the same martial art for a number of years until I left for university. But he kept training, and just over a year later earned his blackbelt.
Though it was a spectacle to see this man, with effectively one arm and one leg, throwing fully-abled blackbelts around for several hours during his grading, it was also immensely inspiring.
He had gone through the same challenges as all of the other blackbelts from our gym. He had studied for years, trained diligently, failed repeatedly, but always got back up and tried again.
At the end of the night, when our instructor wrapped the new blackbelt around his waist, it became evident what had earned him that gold medal at the Paralympics.
It was not his strength or technique, but his heart. It became abundantly clear that he would never stop trying until he achieved his goal.
That same mindset and fierce, almost obsessive, level of determination drives all elite athletes. It's what makes them great, and it's what will ensure that I will watch as much of this year's Paralympics as I can.
Greatness in sport is not the result of talent, or being fully-abled, or where you train. Triumph on the sporting field is a triumph of character.
And I, for one, can't wait to see who comes out on top over the next two weeks.
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