Posts Tagged ‘olympics’
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.
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.
Yes, as the title of this posting hints at, I am boycotting this year’s Summer Games. And not because of China’s attitudes toward the disabled. Communist regimes are always going to have their vision of a perfect world, and their vision of what the people in that perfect world look like. No matter how skewed those visions may be. Boycotting a Summer Games will not send the message that people with that type of attitude need to hear. It is already too much a part of the sociology of the regime.
For much the same reason, I will not be boycotting the Olympics because of the situation between China and Tibet. That is a political drama that goes back a long time and the loss of revenue at a sporting event will not change that. Even if it is the grandest sporting stage in the world, the Olympics.
And let me make it clear that it is not the people that are the problem it is the political regime. However, the regime is run by people, and, though I may be over-simplifying, people need to change themselves.
No, I am not even boycotting because of the recent scandal involving the Chinese gov’t involved in hacking the U.S. gov’t’s computers. Nope, not even that will put such a fire in my belly as to make me boycott the Olympics!
And lastly I am not preparing to boycott if Oscar Pistorius, the amputee who was recently given the OK to attempt to qualify for the Olympics, does not make the South African team.
I am boycotting it for the same reason I do pretty much every four years. I am not interested in track and field events now, and I don’t plan on suddenly becoming interested during the Games. Sure there are other events, like Basketball, but with that, either my country, the U.S. either destroys and humiliates the competition, which is not what the games should be about, or if they don’t people get upset that we didn’t live up to the standard we were supposed to. You can’t win and I am boycotting.