Yes I can! Channel 4’s inspiring ad celebrating the athletes of 2016 Paralympics

(image courtesy UK Paralympics)
(image courtesy Channel 4 / UK Paralympics)


The Olympics is an impressive display of sporting prowess in anyone’s language.

But while I enjoy the daring exploits of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, even more impressive for me are the achievements of the athletes who compete in the Paralympics every four years.

They are superhumans in every sense of the word, a quality that has been recognised by Channel 4 in Britain who have created a mesmerisingly infectious and inspirational ad that celebrates how remarkable these Paralympians are.

Set to a swing track “Yes I Can” by Sammy Davis Jr which is sung by Aussie crooner Tony Dee, accompanied by a band filled solely by musicians with disabilities, this evocative ad makes a point of celebrating everyday people – 140 of them in fact from a mum feeding her child with her feet to a blind pianist – achieving utterly extraordinary things.

And it does it all without over-sentimentalising disabled people, making it abundantly clear they are everyday people who have committed themselves to achieving amazing things, just like any other athlete or person, and that we will be privileged to see them in action over the course of the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

As London Paralympian Sam Ruddock notes in The Guardian article on the brilliant ad, it carries an immensely powerful message that everyone should heed, no matter who they are.

“There are all sorts of wonderful things in there to make you reassess what you can achieve with what you have. If we can do this, there is no reason anyone else can’t … it’s about a positive attitude.”


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