Storytime with Stephen: My Way to Olympia


Today’s Storytime with Stephen episode contains an important reminder. The pinnacle of athleticism is always counted as the Olympics. We see truly incredible feats of human ability that stemmed from years of rigorous training, sweat, and sacrifice that wow people in nations all around the world. That’s why we love them. But there is one event that matches the Olympics in both strength of character and inspirational spirit, and that is the Paralympics. The Paralympics started today in Sochi, and we here at Gaiam are huge fans of this very different display of what humans are capable of. The things that these athletes train for as just as beautiful and fascinating, perhaps even more so because of the disabilities they face and overcome on a day-to-day basis, such at those of US Paralympian Matt Stutzman. If you missed Matt’s story, he is an armless archer who currently holds the record for the world’s longest shot…by any archer, not just a disabled one! Such a show of hard work and dedication deserves to be recognized, so we brought Paralympian Matt Stutzman over to Denver in order to speak to a schoolful of special needs students on what it means to work hard and not give up. The Paralympic experience is definitely different in many ways, because as we watch it, something changes. We no longer are focused on just “our team” and our country’s representative; instead, we start to cheer for each other as human beings. What an incredible experience! This message was captured in a documentary made by German filmmaker Niko von Glasow called My Way to Olympia. As a disabled person himself, you would expect von Glasow to be very earnestly cheering for athletes like Matt (who is featured in the documentary). However, he is skeptical of the value of the Paralympics, and at times very cynical, asking the hard questions of people facing hard circumstances. As Stephen puts it, this documentary is as much about von Glasow’s journey as it is about the athletes, and learning the true value of the human spirit.


Rachel Grussi

California Bay Area native-turned-Coloradan Rachel Grussi Keller is a lifetime writer and UC Irvine graduate of Literary Journalism. Rachel’s true passion lies in telling the untold story, unraveling the facts and writing the best balance of all sides. With a benevolent bodybuilding father passing on his wellness wisdom, she has a long history of love for health and fitness, as well as helping others come to understand who they are and finding their value.
Rachel can often be found digging into Bioware titles, bonding with animals of all sizes (particularly dogs), traveling to destinations near and far, pushing the limit on her library card and putting yet another mile into her running shoes. She currently lives in the Denver area with her own Prince Charming, Jonathan, and their eternally-energetic, loveable Lab-Pit mutt, Lani.
Twitter: @rgrussi


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