Tuesday, 11 September 2012 03:54

Paralympic Athletes: Call Me, Maybe? No, Call Them Athletes.

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The stories coming out of the UK media about the games' impact on the public are dramatic, and equal attention and admiration has been placed upon their Paralympic champions as was their Olympic medalists. Simmonds, Peacock, Weir & Storey are mentioned in the same breath as Farrah, Ennis, Wiggins & Murray - and rightly so. The term "Para" itself means "alongside," and Paralympic athletes from around the world showed without question they deserve the same level of accolade as their Olympic counterparts.

But off the track, pitch and stadium floor, there is still much work to be done for changing perceptions of the disabled, both in Great Britain and around the world. And the games were not without controversy in the public forum there, as many took exception to Paralympic sponsor Atos and their involvement in a long-standing issue with disability evaluations and "fit to work" assessments in the British healthcare system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One final note on "inclusion." For the first time since 2000, athletes with developmental disabilities competed in the Paralympic Games. While some may argue this continues to blur an already fuzzy line for the general public as to the difference between "Special Olympics" and "Paralympics," what it does do is send a broader message that an athlete should measured by his/her athletic ability, not their disability. Who better to teach the world about inclusion than those who have always been fighting the good fight themselves.

Call them Challenged Athletes, call them Disabled Athletes, call them Paralympic Athletes.
Just make sure you call them Athletes. Because they've earned it.

See you in Sochi.

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Read 647389 times Last modified on Friday, 14 September 2012 17:33

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