Meet Oleg Boyko, Parasport Hero
“Not all heroes wear capes,” has become a common phrase lately. Whether this is from an increase in comic book-related entertainment or other influences, it’s an idea many social media users, pop culture feeds and even news organizations are using to describe those who handle the seemingly ordinary in extraordinary ways.
Everyone from community leaders, first responders, teachers, moms and dads; all have a hero within, a super alter ego. But why do we call it that? Perhaps we find inspiration in those who step up to participate for the benefit of others. We love to cheer for those who aspire to and do move beyond adversity. Those who have turned personal tragedy into triumph are ideal candidates for the band of Capeless Crusaders, and often it’s because we see them reach out to help others despite their own challenges.
One such individual is Oleg Boyko, founder and chairman of Finstar Financial Group. Yes, Boyko is a successful and well-known businessman, with interests in everything from finance and financial technology to entertainment and Hollywood movies. According to Forbes, his net worth is approximately $1.2 billion and he ranks 75th amongst the richest people in Russia. That kind of aptitude in business is a pretty heroic feat in itself, but he is also known for more.
In addition to his various businesses, Boyko is heavily invested in building others up. While many talk about philanthropic goals, he uses his wealth and influence to increase the quality of life for differently abled individuals. Boyko is the founder of PARASPORT, an organization committed to “make an impact on the minds of society and challenge stereotypes; to change public opinion about people with disabilities.”
Boyko himself utilizes a motorized scooter for mobility, and wants to elevate the conversation, access, and opportunities available to people with disabilities. Founded in 2006, the PARASPORT Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides funding and delivers charitable programs to Paralympic athletes through active cooperation with National Paralympic Committees. This is done in three major fields:
· Paralympic Team Sponsorships
· Official Meetings
· Award Ceremonies and Special Events
The foundation not only provides training to disabled athletes, it serves as a long-term source of physical rehabilitation and financial support for others affected by physical or sensory impairment. This extends outside of Russia, assisting members of the disabled community throughout the world.
Through his work with PARASPORT and serving as Head of the Paralympic Movement Development Committee of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Boyko has worked on fundraising campaigns to expand the prevalence of parasports. He desires to see new nations join in with the games and in advancements for the differently abled in all parts of their lives, whether home, career, or additional entertainment-related activities. The commitment to integrity he is known for in business translates to his high valuation of sportsmanship and cooperation within the Paralympic community.
Various stories about the aptly named PARASPORT heroes, can be found on the organization’s website. The changes in these individuals are tangible; showing that a connection to the sporting community has changed other parts of their lives. This inspirational fire burns within each athlete and spreads to others, achieving the intended result of changing perceptions and hopefully ending discrimination against disabled people.
In 2015, Boyko was appointed as a member of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation Development Committee and has received accolades from the IWAS organization. His views on disability allow him to passionately pursue advancements in not only competitive sports, but also in policies which affect the daily lives of the modern disabled community.
Oleg Boyko is, according to Forbes, one of the Most Respected Billionaires in the world, which is no doubt linked to his incredible business acumen and forward-looking approach to financial services and technology. But we can see in addition to his financial wisdom, his philanthropic endeavors have a positive impact on many people. The responsibility he takes on for the benefit of others is readily seen. These are all pretty heroic feats, perhaps Mr. Boyko should make an appointment to be fit for a cape.