Olympians VS Paralympians

Jacqui Freney was the star of the London Paralympics with eight Gold medals

Now that the dust has settled on both London campaigns it’s time to look forward. Be it looking to Rio in four years  or the AFL Grand Final in a few weeks, there is always something going on for lovers of sport.

It’s thanks to the sports lovers and some misused terminology that I can write this post. It was frequent during the ten days of Paralympic competition to see the athletes referred to as Olympians, and while I can see where people are coming from, it’s just not how it works.

Yes the two events are held in the same city, but they are organised by different bodies and have different sports involved in each of them. This would be no different to somebody suggesting that Quade Cooper is a Rugby League International because there was both a League and Union test played in the same city on the same weekend, one on Friday night and one on Sunday afternoon.

Laughable isn’t it, given it is obvious that they are two different entities.

So why do people call Paralympians, Olympians ?

A lot of people have asked me why the Paralympics need to remain independent and I’ve touched on a lot of it in previous posts, so I won’t rehash it here, but there is one word  which exemplifies what the Paralympic movement is about – PRIDE.

Before the games the IPC started a hashtag on twitter #proudparalympian , which was something that was seen throughout the games, with the athletes expressing not only the joy of representing their country, but the gratitude for everyone who helped get them to the pinnacle of their chosen sport.

In the majority of these tweets the pride of being disabled was also evident.

One thing I saw a lot of over the last ten days were comments such as “that’s amazing / inspiring / insert words of choice here”, when really it was nothing of the sort.

Paralympic games are a chance for Athletes With a Disability (as oppose to Disabled Athletes) to show what they are capable of,  in a spotlight they only get once every four years.

That spotlight is the reason for being Paralympians, as they are getting the recognition they deserve.