Abolition of Paralympics



Two years ago I posted a provocative proposal on this blog. It was in Italian language, since I posted only in my mother-tongue at that time. However, since next Olympics will be held in London on 2012, I decided to propose it again in English language too. So, here it is.

LET US ABOLISH THE PARALYMPICS

Yes. That is exactly what you read: I am proposing to abolish the Paralympic Games. Why? Because, even if they are a great opportunity for disabled people to demonstrate their ability in sports, they are also still a way to discriminate disabled individuals with respect normal ones. In fact, by organizing separate games, disabled people has not the opportunity to compete directly against normal people, or to be in the same team with normal people. It is a fact, by the way, that Paralympic Games do not call the same attention nor have the same visibility of Olympics. So Paralympics are really a ghetto of sort.

Therefore my proposal is to

OPEN THE OLYMPICS TO DISABLED PEOPLE TOO

There are a lot of disciplines where disabled and normal people can partecipate into the same competition. This is already true in archery, for example, where disabled and normal athletes directly compete each other in the same contest. Generally speaking, people on a wheelchair can compete at par against standing people in most shot contests.

This is already the case for archers, but there are many other sporting disciplines where disabled athletes can participe in the same team with or against normal people. For example, there is no reason why a blind athlete could not be part of a boat crew or participate to a shot put contest; a tennis player does not need two arms to play; an indoor cyclist might have any kind of prosthesis: arms, legs, hands, or feet. A deaf boxer, as well as any other deaf wrestler, might fight according that at the beginning and at the end of each round it is activated a signal light. We have only to make some secondary change to the way the contest is organized, or to apply some minor change to rules, but in most of cases we do not need even that: just allow them to compete.

Of course, there are sports where direct competition between disabled and normal people is hardly possible, though Oscar Pistorius demonstrated that even when a disability involves core abilities concerning a specific discipline, a disabled person may obtain results very close to the ones achieved by normal athletes. Of course Pistorius had to use special prosthesis to obtain such results, and someone might claim that his artificial lower legs, while enabling him to compete, gave him an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners. However there are a lot of sports where athletes results depend on technology and specific pieces of equipment. For example, skiing, tennis, pole-jumping, track-racing, and even swimming and race. It is a fact that, also in Olympics, richer athletes and teams may take advantage of high-tech equipment which is not available to the athletes and teams of poorer countries. So, stating that Pistorius’ artificial legs are an unfair advantage is, in my opinion, exploitable and questionable.

Anyway, even if in several cases it will be necessary to have separate competitions between normal and disabled athletes — for example, in basketball, water polo, or football — the fact that they will be held in the same event, i.e. the Olympics, will be a significant example of inclusion.

So, my proposal is to open the London 2012 Olympic Games to disabled too, allowing them to participate to the same contests of normal people and in the same teams with normal athletes, wherever it is possible, or moving specific Paralympic contests within the Olympics, when direct competition is unlikely. Just consider that, if we want to do it, we have to begin immediately, since there are rules to change, sports grounds and stadiums to adjust, before making this possible.

If you think that my proposal is right, please,
share the word and help me to make more and more people be aware of it.
Thank you in advance.

Commenti (2) a «Abolition of Paralympics»

  1. utente anonimo ha detto:

    Lets get the basics correct first before we try to change the rules made by ordanary(vs normal)people for the Olympics/Paralympics. (A remark-“paralympics” refers to “parallel” olympics and has nothing to do with, paraplegic.)

    I am sure the ticket/reference of a “disable person/athlete/champion” was coined by a ordanary person who do not know/think/care for differently ABLE (vs.DISable) people.

    Oscar Pistorius is more ABLE than most people I know-the level of Oscars dedication , commitment and respect is found in very few other athletes, including those who competes in “open” (vs.able body) competition.

    Oscar said in an interview to a NBC tv producer who could not utter the words “disable” after he had spend 2 days with Oscar-“please remember, I am not disable,I just do not have legs like you.”

    Success, you have my support 100% and I will contribute where I can, or think that I can.

    Henke Pistorius.

    Let us bannish the “disabling,I can not,help me,I am not good enough,not capable” words to refer to differently ABLE athletes. Often they are more true examples of an Olympian.

  2. Dario de Judicibus Dario de Judicibus ha detto:

    I agree with you. Please, read my articles about «normal» and «disabled» concepts.

    I use the term disabled because I want to provoke those people who care only of terms. We have not to consider disabled people as individual to help or support, but to respect as any other individual. It is because of that respect that we have to eliminate all architectural barriers, for example, not to aid “weak” people. They are strong, often stronger that “normal” people.

    It is just a matter of respect.

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