As Canada prepares to host the world’s best, Vancouver 2010, The Globe and Mail, and the University of British Columbia in collaboration with universities across Canada, are partnering on a unique project inviting the public to flex their intellect via podcasts by some of the country’s best minds on topics related to the 2010 Winter Games.
My podcast is live
Who will be the future Olympic and Paralympic athlete? The impact of advances in science and technology and bodily assistive devices on Sport.
American athlete Aimee Mullins has been a guest editor over at Gizmodo recently, and her “Racing on Carbon Fibre Legs” is worth a read on Cheetah legs, Pistorius, an ableism. Amongst the things of interest are:
As of yet, the best prosthetic available is not as efficient and not as capable as what Mother Nature gives us — or, what she was supposed to give me and South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius. The revolutionary design of the woven carbon-fibre Cheetah Leg, nicknamed for its design inspiration, has been in existence for nearly 15 years — and after my initial triumphs with them in the mid 1990s, it has been the leg of choice for nearly all elite amputee sprinters. But in one instant, after Pistorius entered a summer 2007 track meet in Rome and placed second in a field of runners possessing flesh and bone legs, he and I were deemed too abled.
The 2009 Speedo CAN-AM Para Swimming Championships are being held July 30-31, Aug 1 at the Kinsmen Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB. Heats: 9:30 am – 12 pm; Finals: 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Swimmers with a broad range of disabilities (functional, visual, and intellectual) will be attending from Canada, the United States, Australia, and Nigeria. For more information on the competition check here.
(This news story originally appeared on the Wired blog, with credit to be given to BA Haller over at the Media and Disability blog.)
Snapshot of Beijing subway station with a train in the station. In the foreground, the viewer sees a wheelchair symbol on the platform indicating an accessible entrance and exit. ST
In what may be the most significant improvement in human rights brought about by the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics, Beijing has become less of a Forbidden City for the disabled. Even though more than one million disabled people live within its city limits, Beijing’s crowded subway was practically inaccessible to anyone not able to rush to the front of the platform on their own two feet. Now, according to the official Chinese government information site china.org.cn, the improvements made in preparation for the Games will become permanent, allowing disabled riders to travel without barriers.
“I can’t believe this is true. Three hours ago I was at home, and now I’m here with all these others watching Paralympic Games competitions,” randomly-selected wheelchair-bound Beijing citizen Wang Shufen said. “The volunteers and subway and bus workers were really helpful. Without them, I would never have made it.” Of course, China.org.cn made sure to note that the 70-year-old Wang was smiling all through her interview, and never mentioned whether she lived ten feet or ten miles from the stadium. Still, for a city that banned the country’s few guide dogs and disqualified the disabled from entrance to many schools, any effort to open the city’s transit infrastructure to the disabled is a welcome change.
With both hands raised and signalling “V” for victory, Canada’s Valerie Grand’Maison celebrates her win in the women’s 100-metre freestyle at the Beijing Paralympics on Wednesday Sept 10, 2008. It was her third gold medal of the Games.
The Star.com/Toronto Star
September 11, 2008
BEIJING–Swimmer Valerie Grand’Maison picked up her third gold medal of the Paralympic Games yesterday by breaking her world record in the women’s 100-metre freestyle for the visually impaired.
Lauren Barwick added gold in equestrian and wheelchair athletes Chantal Petitclerc and Dean Bergeron raced to victories on the track as Canada picked up four gold medals on the day.
Grand’Maison finished first in 58.87 seconds, taking more than a half-second off her previous mark of 59.57 set at the 2006 world championship. The 19-year-old from Montreal, who won gold earlier in the 400 freestyle and 100 butterfly, said her preparation has been the key to her success. “I’m eating and resting properly and I’m not letting myself be bothered by any distractions,” Grand’Maison said. “I’ve been pretty nervous for the races but the crowd has been absolutely great.”
Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) — Double-amputee Oscar Pistorius won today’s 100 meters at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, though he missed his objective of beating his own world record time. South Africa’s Pistorius, nicknamed “Blade Runner” because of his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, finished in 11.17 seconds at the Bird’s Nest stadium, about a quarter of a second slower than his world mark of 10.91 set last year. Continue reading →