Friday, September 7, 2012

Paralympics - the most baffling sporting event ever

Who won, do you think?

Dear Paralympics viewers,
         This must be the most baffling sporting event ever.
         It’s got nothing to do with the competitors who deserve every accolade they can get for the gutsy way they put themselves on the world stage of the London Paralympics.
         But if they are quite happy to do this what’s the point in having television commentators telling us viewers that they don’t like to dwell on the disabilities of the competitors by explaining exactly what is going on.
         Don’t they realise that by entering these games all the athletes are doing their level best to be treated as normal people and as such they don’t need the protection of condescending TV experts.
         The result is that viewers are left scratching their heads when they see a race on the track with what appears to be two perfectly able-bodied woman running miles ahead of the following pack of obviously blind athletes each attached to their own guide to keep them on the right track.
         It was hardly a surprise that the two in front got gold and silver with one of the attached runners coming in a distant third for a bronze. Imagine what an outcry there would have been in the most recent Olympic Games if Usain Bolt had been forced to run tied to another athlete to even up the odds for the other runners.
         The Paralympics race I have just referred was just as absurd. How do you think the completely blind runners must have felt knowing that they were in an event in which their handicap ensured that they had absolutely no chance of winning gold? Yet nobody, including the commentators, seem to have seen anything wrong in this travesty of fair play.  
         In a shot-put event a huge Russian wins gold ahead of two much smaller men. He stands towering above them to receive his medal while they sit in their wheelchairs (See Pic). It looked like another shocking match by the organisers.
         In the swimming the unexplained races made the games even more difficult to understand. Two women who can walk are beaten for gold by one in a wheelchair. A one armed man wins when all his rivals have two arms.
         And on the track a double amputee woman, blade runner gets gold ahead of another one who had lost only one leg.
         You could go on and on about how athletes with very different disabilities often found themselves competing with one another.       
         You would think that if you have the whole world to choose from you would be able to put like with like otherwise we might as well just have one Olympic Games for everybody, because even in the games for the able-bodied the majority of athletes compete knowing they haven’t a hope of getting a medal.
         Jon, a Fair Play Advocate who has won numerous Olympic Golds – in his dreams.

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