It was all over the news, Iranian Paralympic cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad lost his life when making a determined effort to secure glory for his nation.
Bahman was a man who had lost his leg in war, a man who lost his beloved wife to cancer whilst preparing for London 2012, and a man whose story sadly ended at Rio 2016.
Although his tragic death left everyone wondering what nominated him as the victim of the sole fatal accident in the 50-year history of the Paralympics, the moot question to be addressed is what could have gone through his mind not to surrender to devastation, loss, and loneliness?
The answer is life; the most precious irretrievable blessing one could ever attain.
Bahman fought for not being futile and ineffective; not living senselessly. He was in search for meaning, for empowerment and inclusion.
What motivated him through all the years of bearing pain and devastation was to achieve the sense of beauty life could give us; the characteristic spirit of a culture, the ethos that contains the most discussed line in all of Keats’s “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
Bahman tried to prove that it is worth living as an empowered person. He believed in eternity in its abstract form; the eternity he was feeling with his soul and mind. This is the difference between an ordinary man and a legend and today Bahman Golbarnezhad is fondly remembered as a war hero and a sports legend.
A legend can be anyone worth remembering for a very long time even after they have left the world. Legends are remembered and their tales are cherished; they leave behind a legacy, not in terms of monetary value, but in moral values.
Legendary nature comes not from one’s image but from what one stands up for and believes in. it is not about becoming famous; it is about being someone worth remembering and being looked upon for inspiration and growth. Finally, it is about being free, for only those who are truly free can become legends. Those whose life and skills are part of their ancient culture which is to remind people of the world what rich handsome human nature and culture they come from; a culture of unity, solidarity, love and peace.
They send out a message of friendship and happiness to the world. Them taking part in international arenas indicates how everyone, even those with disabilities can overcome hardship and stand on top. They manifest that you can be ‘a leg to stand on’; not ‘a shoulder to cry on’.