From ceremonial flourish, to ceremonial award; I’mPOSSIBLE awards given out at Tokyo 2020

The iconic moment when Russian Paralympian, Alexey Chuvasev, changed the word impossible to the phrase I’m possible has now gone full circle with a set of I’mPossible Awards given out at Tokyo 2020.

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Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021. Recipients of the 'I'm Possible' Award wave onstage during the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021. Recipients of the 'I'm Possible' Award wave onstage during the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

During the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Paralympics, Russian Paralympic champion, Alexey Chuvasev, climbed a 15 meter tall rope into the stratosphere of the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

Once at the top of the rope, he was greeted by the word impossible spelled out in giant floating letters. However, the word impossible soon became the phrase “I’m Possible” after Chuvasev dropped an apostrophe between the letters “I” and “m.”

The now iconic moment was part of a greater ceremonial concept thought up by Balich Wonder Studio known as “Reaching the Impossible.” The moment was so inspiring that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decided to launch a global education initiative known as I’mPossible.

I’mPossible, which was developed by the Agitos Foundation, is an educational program that aims to spread awareness of the Paralympic movement and values to students across the world.

According to the IPC, “I’mPOSSIBLE aims to challenge and change the perceptions of how young people perceive people with an impairment, thus bringing about a more inclusive society.”

Tokyo 2020 saw the program reach new heights and further recognition as a set of awards dedicated to the program were given out at the closing ceremony.

There were five recipients of the I’mPossible Awards. Two of the awards went to schools in Chiba, Japan. A further award went to a school from Malawi as the best overseas school.

The final two awards were given out to Paralympic athletes. Lassam Katongo of Zambia and Katarzyna Rogowiec of Poland were the first two athletes to receive an I’mPossible award.

All recipients were given the awards in recognition of their effort to make significant contributions to a more inclusive society.

The IPC has stated it will continue to work with National Paralympic Committees to implement the I’mPossible program within their countries, but that there would be no more I’mPossible awards given out at the Paralympic Games.

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