Paralympics London 2012

Ok so I’m watching the Paralympics Opening ceremony. Channel 4 in the UK with wonderfully annoying adverts. It is however quite a spectacular show maybe without the panache of Danny Boyles olympic equivalent. Cheese laden gay disco anthem “I am What I am” finish hmmm. (nothing against the stunning Beverley Knight)

As quite a sporty spacker myself it is heartening to see the stadium full, to let all the athletes involved get some of the recognition they deserve due to a life time of dedication to their chosen disciplines. I completed at junior level at 2 Stoke Mandeville games, came second in the sprint, I lost twice once in the heat and once in the final to the same guy. Bastard. I did win the Boccia though, so yes I was UK under 11 champion. For those wondering Boccia is a bit like boulle but with soft hairless balls. (A bit like me at the time I seem to recall)

As moving as the vocals of Stephen Hawking are, featuring heavily in the ceremony as they do. It makes me wonder why in 2012 the Paralympic movement is needed at all. Stephen Hawking is undoubtedly more famous because of his disability but he doesn’t work in “disabled science” he works in “science”. The wheelchair has helped with greater exposure but it is his expertise that brought the opportunity.

All of the Paralympicans at London 2012 are athletes excelling in their chosen field like Hawking in his. Why then does their field have to be two weeks behind the able bodied athletes one. It reminds me of school sports days where we used to be able to take part but on a mat far away from the rest of the school. This is that mat but much much larger.

Yes there are logistical reasons why the Olympic games cannot be run at the same time as the Paralympics, with special arrangements needing to be made in accommodation and media, but there are special arrangements that need to be made lets say for Olympians who are muslim, vegetarian or gay. None of these minority groups have their own games. Nor should they. Why are the disabled so different?

London 2012 has set out the objective to inspire a generation. Time will tell if it achieves this. I can’t help but feel they missed a trick here. Superhumans they aren’t. They are athletes and under one olympic flag they should compete.

Good luck to all athletes competing. And I gotta say Go Team GB… oh and watch out for Wheelchair Rugby those fuckers are hardcore!

London 2012 A time for change?

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3 comments

  1. Good blog

    Can’t say I agree with all of it. Controversial.

    I’d say they do have to be at different events because:

    · These athletes are at a different level to the others (Muslim and gays included) and are not going head to with them (with the exception of that guy with no calfs who did)

    · Most of the sports are completely different. Which means having different types of umpires and crowd control (Blind football needs a silent crowd)

    · And the logistics and security involved would be more immense than current imminence of it.

    I agree it is a shame and the opening and closing ceremonies should represent all, and maybe the individual ness of Paralympics is almost patronizing, saying oh look at you , aren’t you brave. They’re so brave and good. Look at them Michael, look! They’re blind for gods sake and got no legs. LOOK! Point! Point! POINT!

    I’m with you on this in principle, but making it happen is quite another.

  2. Thanks for your comment

    I don’t suggest that disabled athletes go head to head with able bodied. Separate events, with the ability classifications that are current in disabled sport.

    Only 3 sports are played in the Paralympics that don’t have Olympic counterparts, and things like Boccia and blind football can still be played under premium conditions just during the Olympics. Volleyball and Beach volleyball in the normal Olympics require different environments, one rather more sandy than the other. Both are accommodated.

    Logistically it would make things difficult yes, but this difficulty in itself would highlight the hoops disabled folks have to jump through (funny in itself) to carry out everyday activities. (And yes I do realise this last point is a bit, cake and eat it too)

    Not sure this will ever happen, because the Paralympic movement won’t want to lay down and die

  3. I have tried to get tickets to the Paralympics, so far in vain. I won’t give up until the last day. In the meantime, I watch as much as I can on TV.

    The BBC’s coverage was extensive and I was able to watch almost everything live through their app on my phone. The Channel 4 app doesn’t do live streaming, so I haven’t been able to watch half the sports I would’ve liked like Powerlifting, Goalball and 5-a-side football. The BBC really did spoil me.

    On the upside, Wheelchair Rugby, also known as Murderball will be shown next week, according to the Radio Times. I’ve heard it’s hardcore – I can’t wait!

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