2019 Volume 69 Issue 12 Pages 64-73
As a member of the Olympic Education Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a member of the Education Committee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Miki Matheson strives to spread and promote the official IPC Paralympic education in schools around Japan. The Paralympic education aims to help children cultivate a mindset of respecting and live side by side with others. Ms. Matheson says this idea will remain as a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. After winning four medals at the Nagano 1998 Paralympic Winter Games, Ms. Matheson flew to the United States to study. She decided to leave Japan, where people with an impairment had to think about their options by process of elimination, to explore ways to become an educator to achieve her childhood dream. Ms. Matheson, who now lives in Canada with her family, says that in Canada—a country embracing multiculturalism and inclusion—individuals are recognised not by whether with or without impairment but by what they can. Regarding Paralympic broadcast coverage, she emphasises the importance of the roles of reporters and commentators with perspectives of persons with an impairment: the former would bring out athlete’s thoughts and emotions, and the latter would review athletes’ performance at the studio. Commentators should tell the audience how the Paralympics and an inclusive society are interrelated. The Paralympic education that Ms. Matheson engages in has designed a teaching/learning toolkit called “I’mPOSSIBLE,” which is an IPC’s official educational material. Ms. Matheson, who took part in the development of the Japanese version, holds workshops for teachers, making use of her experience as a licenced teacher. She hopes children can grow up with good self-esteem and play a prominent part in social change. Expecting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics to serve as a starting point for this, Miki Matheson is determined to continue promote the Paralympic education in schools across Japan even after the big event to make Japan a truly inclusive society.