Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Where to for the Paralympics

May 17th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Disability, Paralympics, Sport

Oops a sport’s post! I am a bit of a sports addict – as in the armchair variety. Later this year I hope to combine my interest in disability and society and sport in writing some posts on the Paralympics as I know some of the paralympians and know how little coverage they get, and I’m fed up of how a lot of that coverage will be about their bravery, their bodies and extremeness and and how they don’t work, how the athletes ‘overcome their disabilities’ and quirky posts about boccia.

Which brings me to the issue of Oscar Pistorius. Someone has called him ‘Blade Runner’ probably not Oscar but it’s stuck. Pistorius received a ruling from the Court of Arbitration yesterday which means that he can try to qualify for the Olympics and other athletics events- only right and proper.

However this comment from Tanni Grey Thompson had me thinking.

“For Oscar, it is huge and I can understand why he is doing it,” She said. “He will be the first Paralympian who is truly known worldwide and the movement will benefit from it. But the argument goes much deeper than Oscar.

If he runs at the Olympics, they have to take his event out of the Paralympics because I would not want the Paralympics race becoming the ‘B’ event . . .

If Oscar is seen to be making the jump from Paralympics to Olympics, then the Paralympics is immediately B finals . . . He has always said he wants to run both but there is something about that which does not feel quite right . . . It is the whole future of his event at the Paralympics Games which is under discussion.”

I had never seen Oscar’s quest to compete in the Olympics as dissing the Paralympics or damaging it in anyway. Tanni has always been for me a bit on the conservative side in her sports politics and her disability politics also. However I do wonder how the double amputees who run sprint events and are training for the Paralympics this year are feeling this morning. In the Paralympics they run against each other and don’t get the coverage. In the quest for competing in the Olmypics an athlete gets called Blade Runner with focus on the mechanics and lots of accusations of privilege – some made in the way drugs cheats get pointed to.

I see the Paralympics and wanting to run in the Olympics as both being about equality. Well I think I do? Are my glasses rose tinted?



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