After World War Two, the neurosurgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann came up with the brilliant idea of a sporting contest to help rehabilitate veterans. Now, nearly three quarters of a century later, the pandemic has inflicted new wounds – physical and emotional.
Today the paralympics flame has been lit, and with it the hope that the same post-war resilience can be rekindled.
The first contest featured just 16 athletes. Next week, 4,500 from around the world will take part in Tokyo, though sadly athletes from Afghanistan have been unable to leave their country safely, and will not be able to attend.
We watched the flame lighting ceremony with British paralympic rower Helene Raynsford.