JFHC editor Penny Hosie (10/9/12) reflects on how the Olympics and Paralympics achieved it's main aim in style:
Last night's Paralympic Closing Ceremony in Stratford combined with today's Athletes' Parade in Central London marks the end of what has been a stunning summer of sporting achievement. Before the games started some detractors felt the "Inspire a Generation" tag was both far fetched and corny.
However recent stunning multiple gold medal wins by wheelchair racer David Weir and cyclist Sarah Storey and swimmer Ellie Simmonds have silenced the critics and been lauded as highly as their household name, able-bodied peers such as Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah, Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Rebecca Adlington.
Lord Sebastian Coe received a standing ovation during his Closing Ceremony address when he echoed the mood of many by saying that we will never view disability or disability sport in the same way again. His view was endorsed by disability campaigners and a recent Ipsos MORI poll which found that eight in 10 Britons felt the Paralympics had a positive effect on the way disabled people were viewed by the public.
Baroness Grey-Thompson, the 11-time Paralympic gold medallist, said that London 2012 "brought sport to a whole new level", and she had been struck by the change in attitude among the public. "Legacy is much more than just the buildings or even a change in participation," she said. "I think what I've seen is just people having a different attitude towards Paralympic athletes."
Refreshingly there also appears to be a seismic shift towards more positive role models for young girls and boys, with many wanting to emulate the success of their sporting heroes. If this enthusisasm to become more active continues, then Brazil 2016 and future Olympic and Paralympian Games look set to be very exciting indeed.