Some Paralympic athletes might beat Olympic athletes

Record of the games in Pyeongchang : Put the Olympics and Paralympics together!

Paralympic sport can change not only lives, but the world as well. That was what the President of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, said at the opening ceremony of the Games in Pyeongchang. The bar was set high, the focus was not only on sport but also on society and politics: as peace games, the Paralympics were intended to bring North and South Korea closer together. As an ambassador of inclusion, as in previous years, open society in the host country.

The little brother of the Olympic Games is dragged to where the big one has its sporty glory. And that's where it should work. This time in a country where, according to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, more than half of all discrimination complaints explicitly concern people with disabilities.

Change through being there

Of course, the social value of the Paralympics is not to be downplayed. More than 330,000 tickets were sold in South Korea for the competitions - a Paralympic record. The organizers had decided to lower the prices in order to attract the audience to the stadiums. With success. School classes, families, senior citizens, people with and without disabilities: everyone was together, everyone was one and the games were a big party. In addition to the mascot Bandabi, the focus is on the athletes who, in the perception of many, have turned into sporting heroes. Studies have shown that two-thirds changed their attitudes towards people with disabilities during the London Games. Even those who were there in Pyeongchang were moved and will possibly carry the inclusive message in their hearts and into the world. Change through being there. Parson's words thus become reality.

At the same time, the Paralympics remain the event after the "actual games" and the image of a second-class sporting event with reporting and chronicler obligations cannot be shed. While the Olympics were broadcast around the clock on Korean television, the stations only showed small highlights from the Paralympics. A similar picture emerged internationally. Those who weren't there in Pyeongchang didn't notice much.

Far from equality in the media

What is needed is a sporting upgrade of the games. Equal rights in the media, the perception of athletes as competitive athletes. Disabled sports have long since become more professional. It's no longer just about participation, but about competitions and successes, about bronze, silver and gold.

In order for this to be recognized and appreciated even more, the idea of ​​merging the Olympic and Paralympic Games and allowing the competitions of non-handicapped and handicapped people to take place at the same time is constantly being considered. In the same arena, in front of the same audience. Even if it seems like an organizational nightmare at first glance, it would be a strong sign of sporting recognition. Yes, the athletes are ambassadors for inclusion - but above all they are top athletes.

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