2016 is on its way, and that means that once again it’s time for the summer Olympics and Paralympics games (also elections, but that’s a whole other can of worms). This year, the summer games will be held in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While many of us are probably familiar with some of the big-name athletes at the Olympics, it’s probably safe to say that athletes from the Paralympics – the Olympic games open to athletes who are considered “handicapped” by society – are probably not household names.
That’s exactly what the team behind this ad for the 2016 Paralympic Games were counting on when they sent Luciano Dantas (powerlifter with dwarfism, 2015 Parapan American Games bronze medalist), Vinicius Rodrigues (amputee sprinter) and Lucia Teixeira (visually impaired, 2012 London Paralympic Games silver medalist) into gyms across Rio and set up hidden cameras to capture the reactions. Although each of them is met with some bemused looks at first, they quickly impress everyone there by vastly outperforming the “able-bodied” gym goers. In the process they changed a lot of people’s opinions on what it means to be a para-athlete, including mine.