“The days of segregation and separation are over!” declared Eunice Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, when she launched the games in 1987. Thirty years later, sadly, her great ambition remains largely unfulfilled. Athletes with disabilities struggle to find outlets for the expression of their skills, and are not accorded a fraction of the respect and recognition that able-bodied athletes receive. Our culture reveres sports, yet can’t see the nobility of competition among the physically challenged.

Beyond Limits grew out of Diana Sancho’s work as a volunteer photographer for the Special Olympics, an experience that changed her life. As she documented these extraordinary people training and in competition, she learned that what makes a true athlete has nothing to do with ability. It has everything to do with waking up each day and training with your heart and soul. The project’s goal is to show the public this unheralded world, and in the process both change the perception of people with disabilities and contribute to a culture of accessibility.

Beyond Limits makes these points by presenting side-by-side images of disabled and so-called able-bodied athletes, each of them performing the same kind of training, with the same ultimate objective. The message of hope and equality represented by disabled athletes in Beyond Limits speaks for the greater disabled world.

How to View Beyond Limits

During the day, Beyond Limits can be viewed on monitors inside the ICP Museum and during evening hours, images are literally “projected” onto the windows of the ICP Museum; they can be viewed from the sidewalk outside the Museum and are most visible after sunset. Learn more about Projected.

About the Artist

Costa Rican photographer Diana Sancho has explored event photography through a unique view of portraying feelings and emotions in all of her pictures. Sancho has always thought that photography is more than just taking pictures; she believes that photography should be used to bring attention to certain topics. She describes her photography as “not just pressing a button, but portraying an emotion.” She received her master of professional studies in digital photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

TOP IMAGE: © Diana Sancho