''Aegeathlon'', the swimming relay across the Aegean Sea, has been an audacious endeavour that aimed to inform and inspire the public as well as media representatives about athletes with a disability, their potential and achievements.
The 2003 relay was organised exactly one year before the Paralympic Games of Athens (17 - 28 September 2004). The Paralympic Games is a unique sports event for top athletes with a disability from around the world. The term ''Paralympic'' comes from the Greek word ''para'' which means next to, or similar to. Thus, Paralympic Games are a great sporting event of similar importance to the Olympic Games and were organised for the first time in Athens in September 2004.
However, the great majority of the public is not familiar with Paralympic athletes, what they have achieved and what their capabilities are. Athletes with a disability train hard during the year to excel in international meetings and achieve even higher sports distinctions. In Greece, however, but also elsewhere in the world, such athletes are still viewed upon as ''life wrecks'', ''heroes of life'' and other similar melodramatic references that fail to describe both their self-confidence and their significant sport achievements.
Media representatives often embrace this viewpoint and encourage the public to focus on the disability of the athletes, or the sole fact that they have been courageous enough to engage themselves in sports - or other activities - and completely ignore the sporting achievement itself, which is often comparable to Olympic athletes' achievements.
It has been therefore our aim and objective through ''Aegeathlon'' to demonstrate the simple fact that athletes with a disability are still world class athletes and can excel in their sport, as well as in life. So can people with a disability in general. It is to be noted that people with a disability represent a significant part of the population that reaches as high as 10% of the total population in Europe.
Our final objective through swimming across the Aegean Sea was to promote the beauty of the Aegean landscape and the local flavor of the Aegean islands, a truly unique destination in Greece and the entire world.