Monday, September 15, 2008

a stressful golden win

BEIJING - The greatest wheelchair racer in Paralympic history added another first yesterday as Chantal Petitclerc of Montreal won gold medals 80 minutes apart in front of a roaring crowd jammed into the 91,000-seat National Stadium.
A crazy athletics schedule had the women's T54 200 and 800-metre races run not only on the same evening, but just a short time apart.
But it didn't faze the incomparable 38-year-old Petitclerc, who just keeps getting better with age. She won both events in world record time, smashing her own marks in the process.
"I told my coach never again, this was a stressful day," said Petitclerc, who now has won four gold medals in Beijing after sweeping all five events she entered in Athens in 2004. "I think when I go back to the village and get into my room with those two gold medals and think about it ... it's just amazing."

Nobody is mentally tougher or physically as strong as the broad-shouldered Petitclerc, who now has 20 Paralympic medals from five Games in her outstanding career.

Petitclerc will go for her fifth gold medal tomorrow in the 1,500 metres, then call it quits on her Paralympic career to concentrate on road racing and marathons.
-Gary Kingston, National Post.

So where, you might well ask is the TV coverage of these incredible athletes? These sports are just as exciting - if not more - than the 'regular' Olympics, which got blanket coverage. The stories of some of the athletes are inspirational to the nth degree. Their struggles and accomplishments are far and beyond what most of us able-bodied couch potatoes could imagine. Farther than what most able-bodied athletes could imagine, I assume, but I not one of those, so I will only speak on behalf of those of us who get excited over the thrills and spills of those who will endure anything for their dream.

The Paralympics are treated as an add-on to the Olympics. As a humouring of the athletes. Held afterwards, as if an afterthought. It is insulting to the Paralympians competing.


  1. hi

    Thanks for the comments and interest. So many things of interest
    1 What is the reference to pigeons re comments?
    2 The tagging thing is amazing. I promise I will work on what you sent me re blogs but slowly. You've no idea how advanced you are compared to me.
    3 The para olympics has received poor coverage in this country I think. Smacks of dog eats dog and to hell with the less fortunate.
    4 Am I now commenting on peoples blogs in the right place. Originally I was commenting on my own blog!


  2. I always thought they should include the para-olympics as part of the olympics in general. I don't understand why they're separate -- just have an extended session that includes para-olympic events. That would guarantee a wide audience AND appreciation of these athletes

  3. I agree with xup, the paraolympians should compete at the same time as the regular olympians. I enjoyed what meagre coverage of the parolympics we had here in the UK


  4. XUP & MA: Though I fear the logistics of having so many athletes and events in the same place would be too overwhelming. Already the Olympics are too cumbersome.

    The Paralympics could be held BEFORE the Olympics. People often don't get caught up in the Games until later on, after medals have been won and records set or broken. More coverage of the Paralympics in the lead up to the other games could promote more excitement of the Olympics.

    If we can have 'World's' events every year, why not have Paralympics on odd years and Olympics on even years?

  5. Ken: We have coverage on the internet, but not on TV. The old argument of "nobody cares so would not watch" malarky.

    The "comment pigeons" came from a hilarious post and never-ending comments thread from a blog I read (I have no idea how to find it again, I remember it was an "archived" post and was a couple of years old, and that it was from the UK). The post was on getting comments, and popularity, and whether some bloggers were commenting on certain blogs simply to make themselves popular by being seen in the "best" blogs, as opposed to actually wanting to say something.
    Somewhere the term comment pigeons came up and I thought it was funny especially as I was having problem pigeons chattering incessantly and dumping on my space (balcony).

  6. You're so right, there should be some way of running it all at the same time? Some of the achievements have been wonderful and all the more poingnant when you remember that these athletes have overcome huge difficulties to get where they are. For some, even getting out of bed is a challenge. Our own Sophie Pascoe is doing really well with her swimming.

  7. I think the only way for the Paralympics (already the name annoys the hell out of me) to get any coverage is to have them during the Olympics - we know they get no coverage afterward and I'm sure they wouldn't get any before hand either.

    Quite simply, I think people still view disabled athletes as some sort of freaks, and until the competitions are blended, it will stay that way.

  8. I agree completly. I lived in Canada till I was 26 then moved to England. Thanks for visiting and commenting on one of my blogs.

  9. "Held afterwards, as if an afterthought. It is insulting to the Paralympians competing."


  10. Whim: I am watching ELLEN at the moment, and she has been having a different gold medal winner on her show every day - I think she should also have a Paralympian medal winner on her show every day next week when they have come home.

  11. One day I was talking to someone who deals with handicapped people a lot and she told me that the worst thing you can do is treat them differently than you would from others. I also think that unfortunately they are not getting the recognition they deserve. Heck, look at how athletes are treated here, barely enough funding to support them in their training, they have to rely on family, sponsors et al to survive.

    I wish more was done for them but I'm damned if I know what can be done. Perhaps if we all united our voices together we could hope for change?


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