For years those who faced the challenges of disability in all its forms dealt with a stigma that was forced on them, that they were somehow less capable of doing amazing and, dare we say it, Superhuman things. Superhuman Day celebrates and brings awareness to the thousands of athletes, musicians, artists, and everyday people who have overcome what was once perceived as a crippling limitation and gone on to prove that “Yes I Can”.
Superhuman Day was the brainchild of the fantastic people at Channel 4 to highlight the incredible athletes at the Summer Paralympic Games. In 2016 Channel 4 took the place of the official broadcaster for the Paralympics for the second time and immediately decided to start bringing these unsung heroes and champions of the great human achievements into the limelight. It all started with their advertising campaign “We’re The Superhumans”, featuring 140 people with disabilities who are working to change society’s attitudes towards them.
The Paralympics have been running since 1948, though they weren’t called that then. This athletic event was put together to give World War II Veteran Patients with Spinal Injuries a chance to compete, and was called the “1948 International Wheelchair games”. But in 1960 the Paralympics were officially established, and no longer simply open to WWII vets. In that event, 400 athletes from 23 countries competed, which quickly grew to 1600 athletes from 40 countries in 1976.
One of the most important events in the Paralympics occurred in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. The Paralympics were held immediately after the Olympic Summer Games, in both the same host city and using the same facilities. In 2001, the International Paralympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee cemented this practice as tradition, and so it has been ever since.