“My duty, as a privileged human being, is to use all my power to allow this minority to have a better life and all the right it deserves.”
Paralympic medallist and Founder of Comme les Autres
Three questions for Michaël Jérémiasz, Paralympic medallist and Founder of Comme les Autres
1. What is the place given to “the others” in your own rebuilding process? Why are they so important to allow a rebound?
I quickly realised that you can’t rebuild yourself alone. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by caring and loving people (parents, brothers, friends, etc). Twenty years ago when I became paraplegic I had no idea what kind of life disabled people had. As we were an invisible minority.
You face so many obstacles. You have to rebuild from scratch while facing your worse fears and pains. When I was at my lowest, they kept on pushing me, they kept supporting me to face this new life.
2. As an elite athlete, where do you find your motivation, your fuel, and which role models have you been inspired by?
As an elite athlete, I have always been very ambitious. I always aimed to improve each day, get better, and always worked harder to rediscover my limits. I have been pushed all along my career inspired by some amazing coaches and physical trainers.
3. As an elite athlete, you are not representative of the majority of disabled (nor of non-disabled!) people. What is your vision on disability and how can you be inspirational for the majority?
The reality for disabled people in the world is much more complicated than my reality.
I realised that I was belonging to the most discriminated minority in my country. Life is much harder for disabled people when it comes to finding a job, a house, healthcare or to access sports, culture etc. I find that obviously very unfair and unacceptable in a modern world.
I don’t know if I am inspirational or not, but my duty, as a privileged human being, is to use all my power to allow this minority to have a better life and all the right it deserves.
2020 Smart Cities & Sport Publication