Archive for the ‘Oscar Pistorius’ Category
I blogged about Oscar Pistorius’ bid to enter the Olympics (not the Paralympics) in 2008. If you don’t know who I am talking about he is a runner who has both lower legs amputated but has been fitted with a pair of “blades” which have been found to mimic a set of human feet in such a way that they do not give him an unfair advantage. This was not the case in 2008 if I remember correctly, but anyway, he was in for 2012. I did not even know about it until the Olympics already started this year. Anyway, I have not been able to muster up the level of interest it takes for me to blog about a subject even though it is admittedly a big turn of events. Now that the Olympics are almost over, I can say, well done, Oscar. It is progress. It muddies the waters between the land of the able and the land of the horrible, mangled creatures they call “disabled.”. So I am happy about that. I just don’t care too much. Come to think of it, I don’t really care that the Paralympics are starting, and I think I mentioned why, in 2008. There are categories that allow pretty much anyone to get into the Paralympics as long as you have a chipped tooth or got your foot run over by a bicycle when you were six or something. Seriously the categories are quite inclusive. Look it up. The Paralympics, it seems, are less specialized than the Olympics. So it is quite exclusive company Pistorius was in when he made it into the Olympics this year.
Hmm..maybe it really was a bigger deal than I thought. See that is what blogging does for me. It allows me to take an issue, and talk it out until I’ve come full circle, back where, I started, but with a new outlook.
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?
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!
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.