Paralympics kick off in Rio
The Paralympic Games open in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. More than 4,000 athletes with disabilities will take part. Commentators see the games as proof that inclusion works in sports if not elsewhere, and call for the disabled to be treated like everyone else in sports and daily life alike.
Disabled neither second-class nor superhuman
People with disabilities should be treated like everyone else in sports as in daily life, the Guardian admonishes:
“Disabled people are still treated as second-class citizens, as the equalities watchdog noted recently, are targeted in hate crimes, and have been hit perhaps hardest by the age of austerity, with a direct impact on Paralympians. ... Real progress will come when those with disabilities are seen neither as second-class citizens nor as superhuman symbols of virtue - with bodies that are 'either an object of pity or valorized as super in order to be acceptable', in the words of one commentator - but as fellow humans - who, like everybody else, should get support when they need it.”
Sport as a symbol of inclusion
The Paralympic Games have even more appeal than the Olympics because they stand for true unity, writes the Tagesspiegel:
“Everyone should have the chance to do his best and compete against others - this, too, is something the Paralympics stand for. Sport that makes a statement. As a symbol of social participation, inclusion. … While the Olympics are perceived as gigantism, the Paralympics can be a driving force for accessibility. … Being able to rely on each other, accepting help - these attitudes are encouraged and celebrated. And as much as Olympic sport is predominantly about talent and training, the fact is that the Paralympic athletes have overcome extraordinary obstacles and gathered extraordinary experiences. That is what makes their stories so relevant and the Paralympics with their strong appeal so valuable.”