This month we feature the United States 2016 Paralympic Team.
Much like the 2016 Olympic games, the lead-up to the Paralympics have not been without speculation and scandal.
- Russia's Paralympic team was officially banned amidst a much publicized doping scandal.
- By the end of the 2016 Olympics low ticket sales, empty seats and allegations that money for travel stipends allocated to Paralympic athletes from 50 nations were spent elsewhere (on the 2016 Olympics and non-disabled athletes), raised fears that this year would result in a huge step backward for the games and the Disability community.
- Vogue Brazil did the impensável; publishing a spread where images of non-disabled actors were photoshopped to appear as disabled athletes. The editors' decision to not use actual disabled athletes raised the ire of many current/former athletes and Disability advocates.
- The NBC network devoted thousands of hours to the 2016 Olympics and broadcasts numerous commercials using Paralympic athletes to sell the products of their sponsors. NBC's subsidiary NBCSN-SPORTS recently released the full schedule and is devoting only 66 hours to the 2016 Paralympic games.
Former Paralympian (and recent HOT CRIPPLE) Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt had something to say about that-
Okay folks, this is important...the Paralympic TV schedule for the U.S. has been announced. You will notice that the times are crappy (i.e. 1AM) on NBCSN. However, if people do not tune in, and we do not get the viewership, this will NEVER change. So PLEASE turn your tv on and keep it on mute while you sleep, DVR it, host a midnight party, TUNE IN! Pretty please...we have so far to go in order to catch up to countries like the UK and Canada, but this is the most coverage there has ever been, so we must show that it is important to us Americans. Thank you."
Shortly after that statement was posted on line ticket sales for the Paralympics skyrocketed and broke a record for the most tickets sold in a single day. These two events are unrelated. Or are they?
"Don't tell me what's wrong with the Olympics. Let me tell you what's right with them.
In a world rife with failure and bitter compromise they're (the athletes) dedicated to dreaming and to the proposition that limits are entirely negotiable, because they reflect only what has been done to date and and not what's doable in time.
They make the case that part of being fully alive is pushing yourself as far as you can go. Every Olympic record, every personal best and every unlikely comeback is an individual achievement, yes, but it's also a universal example and metaphor."
Who knows more about pushing limits and being a stand in for universal metaphors then PWD's?
We wish all the athletes participating in this year's games the best, but of course our hearts are with the men and women of TEAM USA!
Check out individual profiles of some of the featured athletes:
Brad Snyder, Paralympic Swimming
Lex Gilletter, Paralympic Track & Field
Matt Stutzman, Paralympic Archery
Melissa Stockwell, Paralympic Triathlon
Tatyana McFadden, Paralympic Track & Field