One of my photos

The Chinese Way

September 9th, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 1 Comment · Life

I have been watching a bit of the Beijing Paralympics over the last couple of days, although the coverage is not as extensive as it was for the Olympics.  What little I have seen has been so exciting and enjoyable that I think the whole idea of the Paralympic games should be scrapped.

The Paralympics are now held in the same city and venues as the Olympics: in the past they used to just be held at Stoke Mandeville every time.  The opening ceremony this time was bigger than some Olympic opening ceremonies: Beijing really put on a good show.  The event is getting taken more seriously all the time. Everyone is saying the right things about the medals being just as good as an Olympic medal and so on, but they are still treated as a poor relation in some respects.  At lunchtime today I went to check up on progress at the BBC website and at 1pm the medal table still showed the position at close of play on Sunday while the Monday schedule had no results on it at all.

During the Olympic games there were constantly refreshed text update pages, live video streams, and every time an event finished all the tables were updated.  If the medal table had not been updated within 5 minutes of Team GB winning something there would probably have been rioting in the streets, but the Paralympic updates were a day late. (Unless it was just something strange about the proxy server at work, in which case apologies to the BBC)

I reckon the whole Paralympic idea should be scrapped – and the events added to the Olympic games, which would have to be extended by a week or so to accommodate them.  Wouldn’t it be brilliant?  The wheelchair rugby medal would be just another Olympic medal.  Those who fetishise the Olympic medal table would have to treat the Paralympic events seriously as they would all count towards the final tally.

The idea is not as silly as it sounds at first.  Some sports already segregate participants by physical ability. For example, they recognise that it would not be fair to pit a 60Kg fighter against a 100Kg one in judo so they split the events into various weight classes, without everyone saying that one class is better than the rest.  All you have to do is add a couple more classes.

What, really, is the difference between segregating 45Kg boxers from 92Kg boxers and segregating one-legged cyclists from two-legged cyclists?   The events themselves would not be segregated.  A day in the pool would see the ‘normal’ 100m butterfly followed by the S2 200m freestyle.

If the prospect of having the Olympic games go on for 4 weeks or of having no capacity in the Olympic Vilage is a problem then just scrap some of the pseudo-sports like gymnastics or equestrian events.

Many of my ideas are, frankly, barking but I really can’t be convinced this is one of them.

However… if anyone wants I can always extend the concept and make it less sensible :)  The scope for events could be extended to include categories for high jumpers shorter than 165cm or sprinters over 150Kg. Actually…  it might just be that there are short people with incredible technique at high jumping who are denied their chance to shine because of an in-built disadvantage, so maybe its not so crazy after all.

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  • We Agree

    […] Mike Collis of Worcestershire is, except that heand I agree on something.  A while ago I stated an opinion that the Paralympics should be scrapped and the events integrated into the Olympics.  Today the Guardian had a letter from Mr. Collis […]