Posts Tagged ‘paralympics’
So did you hear the one about the woman in the wheelchair in the crowd at the paralympics. Its not a joke. She was told she could not sit with her family. Apparently the people in charge are planning the event did not plan for disabled people sitting with walkies? Click here to read the entire story. I don’t even want to get into it. It just defies logic, and I don’t do well with that.
Now that I have stated my demand, clearly and concisely, I’d like to note that once again in 2012 the Paralympics follows close on the heels of the Olympics. Once again it has been relegated to a Youtube channel, various other online live feeds, etc, while the Olympics (the Walkie version) is again a world-wide network TV 24-hour a day, weeks-long extravaganza. It’s probably on TV right now. Let me go check………….Yup. It is. Water polo.
Eighteen percent of the U.S. population has some form of disability. That statistic throughout the world is comparable. Everybody knows someone who has some kind of disability that would be represented by athletes in the Paralympic Games. Why is this not on NBC? Do we need a specific TV network just for disability-oriented programming much like African-Americans did with the BET network?
Come on, NBC, it’s 18% of the population! Think of the ratings! Even if just out of curiosity, huge numbers of people would be tuning in to see this. Think of the new ad revenue you would generate from a wide variety of sponsors.
And lastly, you would be providing a service. Network exposure for Paralympic athletes would show the world at large a new side to disability. For one thing, it would demonstrate how many disabilities are not visible, yet very real for the person living with that disability. And it would help able-bodied people become more knowledgeable about a wide array of different types of disabilities. This can only be a win-win situation. The Olympics this year got Paul McCartney to play the opening ceremony. I say we get John Mellencamp to play the 2016 Paralympics on NBC. He’s got spina bifida. See, a disability that is not visible. You’re learning something already.
If you agree, please pass this on.
The 2012 Paralympic Swimming trials are all set to go from June 14-16 at the Bismarck State College Aquatic & Wellness Center in Bismarck, ND. If you are in the area, have 3-6 hours to give and would like to play a part in making this event a success, volunteers are still needed. If you are age 8 and up, please go to www.bisparks.org to find out how you can help. Opportunities in time-keeping, hospitality, and athlete check-in are open.
The 2012 Paralympic Games will be held in London, England from August 29 to September 9. More than 4,000 athletes from 165 countries are scheduled to compete in 19 different areas of athletic prowess.
Of course you’ve got to be a great athlete too, but…
Does anybody else find it disturbing that to qualify for the Paralympics, all you need is a pair of contact lenses? Yes that’s right, apparently anyone whose vision is a little blurry can be a Paralympic athlete.
Granted, I have spent a good amount of time on this blog and on others reminding people that the definition of “disabled” can be extremely broad, even reminding my readers that, in fact, one could argue that those who wear glasses could be considered disabled. But isn’t the Paralympics supposed to be for athletes who cannot partake in the Olympics with fully functional walking athletes because of their disabilities? That was my understanding.
I was watching the Paralympic Judo and it seemed to me that the athletes who were squaring off in the competition had no visible disability. I thought “Did they add Tourette’s Syndrome to the Paralympics?” Because the athletes in the Judo competition definitely had no visible disability, and they had no ailment or disorder holding them back in any way, that is for sure. And this may sound narrow-minded as Hell, but if it is not a visible disability – if it does not visibly hold one back physically – then it has very little to do with physical competition. So I wanted to know what the guidelines were in the Paralympics. So I looked it up.
There are certainly many genuinely disabled people in the Paralympics, and the categories make a lot of sense, and they make it fair so as not to have a no-armed, one legged blind man with cerebral palsy fencing against a guy who is near-sighted. But contact lenses? Seriously?
In the Paralympics, a basketball team is made up of five players, each of whom is assigned an individual ranking from 1.0 to 4.5. The combined total of the rankings of the players on the court for one team at any given time cannot exceed a certain number, let’s say 15. I saw the opening game of the Paralympics tonight and the commentator made sure to stress that the ranking each player is given does not signify his level of ability, but his level of movement. We are talking about people with all different levels of paralysis here, so I can see what he meant.
But when it comes right down to it, doesn’t Kobe Bryant get more playing time with the Los Angeles Lakers because he is able to move in a more effective way than the other players on his team who play his position? And while we are on the subject of the National Basketball Association for Walkies, why is there not such an individual ranking system in the NBA(fW)? Every player in the NBA has a different level of ability, just as is the case in Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball. In the NBA, everyone has proven himself to be capable of competing at at certain level, and if not, he’s sent to the CBA or whatever, or he rides the bench all season and is used as warm-up meat for guys like Kobe in practice. The guys who are put on the court are the guys who are able to give the team its best chance at victory.
Now, I’m not trying to be an elitist or to exclude anyone from taking part in the Paralympics, which, for God’s sake, was established so that the previously excluded could be included. But making sure that each team has no more than 15 points of ability or whatever it is, on the court at any given time is about a step and a half away from the gym class games of kickball where if one team scores two runs, then in the next inning the other team automatically is allowed to score two runs. Not quite the same thing, but you see where I am coming from, I hope.
I have often heard disabled people deplore the lack of televised coverage of the Paralympics (and by the way, WordPress, Paralympics is a word even if your program underlines it in red when I type it). Even though the Paralympics are every bit as competitive and spirited as the Olympics, and share the same venues as the Olympic games, and the event was advertised on the cups at McDonald’s, the biggest fast food chain in the universe…and yet we do not have comprehensive coverage on network television. Evidently they are watching it in Australia on the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), which goes to show how lacking things are in the States, comparatively, in terms of being progressive and all-inclusive.
By the way, if the Chinese government did not want disabled people in their country to be spectators at the Olympics, how the Hell are they coping with the Paralympics, what with all the cripples now swarming into Beijing? How can China justify fielding teams themselves?
But I digress…
While I still haven’t found any thorough coverage of the events on TV, I have found a site where you can watch 8 hours of coverage every day of this year’s Paralympiad. (That’s a word too, WordPress). Check it out by clicking HERE. The 2008 Games are already in full swing starting September 6th. You’ve got your ticket!
I’ve been away from my blog for a little while. I’d like to say that the reason is that I am training for the paralympics, but alas, I have just been whiling away the dog days of summer. My wife works days and I work afternoon-night. So I find things to do, and I have put on a lot of miles doing it. It usually revolves around going to get lunch or snacks or drinks. I may not be training for the paralympics, but I know I’ve put on at least 28 miles in the last several weeks, the equivalent of a good old fashioned Olympic marathon.
So you’re probably thinking “What do you want, a medal?” and my answer is…well…yes.
As disabled sports enthusiasts everywhere anxiously await the outcome of Oscar Pistorius’ last chance to make the South African Olympic team on Wednesday, July 16, I gotta wonder, is Oscar being catered to?
I mean, they extended the deadline on their decision on who to put on their team, from July 11 to July 16, and seemingly just so Pistorius, the first amputee to make it this close to the Olympics, has one more race to make the cut. Why? Is this common practice? Or maybe they just really see something in Pistorius and they feel that to not have him on their national team would be a disservice to the country. Or maybe they think that being the first country to have a disabled person on the national Olympic team would make them really look forward-thinking and open minded.
We should have all stopped holding our collective breath on Pistorius a long time ago. As far as I am concerned, he didn’t make the cut. Because if he makes it as a result of an extended deadline, that, added onto the issue of his “performance-enhancing prostheses, he is going to be the Barry Bonds of the Olympics.
It’s almost a can’t-win situation, even though Pistorius winning a medal would be considered a huge victory. Because at the same time there’d be people expecting him to do well so they could say it was because of his prosthetics. And if he got there and did not do well, others would be waiting in the wings with their low expectations to drop that “he did great considering his disability” bomb.
Paul McCartney has launched a fund-raising campaign for the Paralympics worth 2 Million Pounds, which will extend beyond the 2012 Paralympic Games, according to the former Beatle’s website. This may be partly because London will host the Paralympics in 2012, but I think Paul has shown himself to be an advocate of the disabled with his tireless work regarding the removal of active land mines. Read the full story, here.
Wheelchair sports. Adaptive sports. Whatever you call it, participating in it has, in part, enriched the lives of millions of disabled people. And just like so many other 20th century advances made by and for the disabled, it came as a result of thousands and thousands of veterans coming home disabled.
-Hopefully we will be able to make lemonade out of the lemon-tree of a war in which we are currently involved-
All political statements aside, on July 28, 1948 the Stoke Mandeville Games were played, organized by Sir Ludwig Guttman, a neurologist at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England as a rehabilitative exercise for WWII veterans injured in combat. This was not recreation. This was a hospital, and this was part of the patient’s rehab program. This was quite an advancement from WWI when a person who lost a leg in combat was pretty much lucky to survive.
The Games consisted of one event, archery (although wheelchair polo, basketball and table tennis were also encouraged by Guttman at the hospital), and were played by just two teams, eight players per side.
The event spread throughout Britain four the next few years, and then in 1952, the Dutch got involved, and by ’53, teams from Canada to Israel took part, bringing with them a glimmer of what would become a truly international event in years to come.
Guttman became the president of the International Sports Organization for the Disabled. He died in 1980.
The Stoke Mandeville Games obviously branched out to include a much wider spectrum of participants, becoming the Paralympics in 1960. Though the Paralympics now coincides with the Olympics every four years, and has spawned the Winter Paralympics in recent years, the Stoke Mandeville Games are still played annually.