Recently, tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of Manchester and London to watch parades celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic stars.
These events came just weeks after ParalympicsGB recorded their best-ever performance. They ended the competition in Rio with an impressive 147 medals, which was 27 more than they picked up in London four years earlier and 26 above the target set for them by UK Sport.
What really astounds me about this feat is the adversity that many of the competitors have overcome in their lives to reach the top in their respective sports. To me, this embodies the principle of ‘Be Something More’, which is something I base my working and personal life on.
One of the biggest names in ParalympicsGB is Dame Sarah Storey. The most successful Paralympian in the modern era, she won three gold medals at the Rio games, taking her career total to an incredible 14 Paralympic golds.
Born without a functioning left hand, Storey refused to let this stop her from achieving great things. Starting her sporting career as a swimmer, her first foray into high-profile competition was the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, when at the age of just 14 she took the podium top spot a staggering five times.
In 2005, ear infections forced her to stop swimming, but rather than retiring from sport, she switched to cycling to keep her fitness levels up. She has since achieved huge things on the track and the road. She was even the first para-cyclist to compete for England against able-bodied athletes at the Commonwealth Games.
Fellow Paralympian Kadeena Cox has another inspirational story. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Always a keen sprinter, she continued training despite her condition and in Rio she earned herself a gold medal in the 400 metres on the athletics track. She also secured the top position in the 500-metre time trial in the velodrome.
Like Storey and Cox, all of the people who competed at the Rio Paralympics have refused to let physical challenges and health issues stop them from achieving success.
Success means stretching yourself and overcoming obstacles
The perseverance and determination that these athletes have shown is a perfect example of the Be Something More principle. As you’ll know if you’ve read my previous blogs, this idea is extremely important to me.
Having first seen the slogan on a poster my mum bought for me as a child, it’s a motto I’ve tried to live by ever since. It’s about stretching yourself to do something worthwhile with your life rather than just going through the motions.
Hearing about the bravery and commitment of the ParalympicsGB team just drives home the importance of this message.
As founder and chairman of Appco Group, Chris Niarchos has adopted the Be Something More phrase as his company motto. He continually strives for excellence and helps others around him to do the same.