Paralympics Should Reflect the Best of the Human Spirit
by Stephen Lendman
Athletes competing in Olympic or other contests, despite all sorts of physical impairments and disabilities, reflect the best of sport - individuals with courage to go on with their lives, not letting physical or other limitations stop them from being the best they can be.
For them, competing alone is winning. Showing up is its own reward. Banning numerous Russian athletes from Rio 2016 and its entire Paralympian team because of US pressure further disgraces already hugely tarnished Olympism - more about spectacle, profiteering and exploitation than sport at its finest.
In early August, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) banned Russian athletes from participating in Paralympian competition next month - following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommendation, under heavy pressure from Washington to act, perhaps the lowest form of Russia bashing, its courageous Paralympians victimized by US imperial arrogance.
Russia’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was rejected. Hundreds of Russian Paralympians are being wrongfully denied their right to compete.
Russian sporting legend, three-time Olympian gold medalist Irina Rodnina, current lower house State Duma parliamentarian, spoke for others, saying:
“I am more than sure that it is a wrongful decision, but the main thing is that it is inhumane. Taking it out on physically challenged people, on people for whom it is not just sports of highest achievement, not a profession, but a possibility to feel they are individuals…to take part in competitions. Sport has become raison d’etre for many of them.”
Rio 2016 will long be remembered as Olympism at its worst for wrongfully banishing Russian athletes and Paralympians.
Unjustly banning them reflects disgraceful collective punishment, talented athletes deserving the right to compete used as geopolitical pawns.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.