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.