MY WAY TO OLYMPIA
A film by Niko von Glasow
Content / Description
The short-armed film director Niko von Glasow hates and fears sport, because as a child he was forced to play so much sport against his will. He is also uncomfortable around other disabled people, and suspicious that the Paralympic Games is a whitewash designed to make non-disabled people feel good about themselves. So when he faces the challenge of getting under the skin of some of the disabled athletes preparing to compete in the London 2012 Paralympics, he starts his journey with plenty of prejudices and barriers of his own.
He meets Matt Stutzman, the armless archer from the USA; the shy and expressive Norwegian table tennis player Aida Dahlen; the entire Rwandan sitting volleyball team; one-legged German swimmer Christiane Reppe; and the tetraplegic Greek boccia player Greg Polychronidis. As he follows them through their training and preparations for the Games, Niko asks these extraordinary athletes what motivates them, what frightens them, and why they choose to put themselves on display in such a huge and public ordeal. With his appreciation of sport gradually increasing, Niko attends the Paralympic Games. Here he consoles or celebrates with the athletes who, one by one, have become his friends and confidants. He has gained a strong sense that the Paralympians he has met are stronger, more genuine embodiments of the original Olympic Ideal than their non-disabled counterparts.
The film's journey ends where the whole story began: in the ancient Greek city of Olympia. In this magical, historical place, Niko and Greg learn that playing boccia is prohibited there. Will they be arrested?