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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

O is for Olympics


You thought that when the closing ceremonies took place in Vancouver, BC at the end of February, the high-caliber athletes had almost all left town. But there would be, in March, a parallel "Olympics", he Paralympics, coming to the Canadian city. This involves a number of athletes who compete at the highest levels despite their physical disabilities.

The Paralympics started in 1960 (summer) and 1976 (winter), and has its own governing board, separate from the IOC. Yet, since the Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea in 1988, the location of these games have paralleled the locations of the Summer and Winter Olympics. At least for the next Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the Olympics and the Paralympics share a common organizing committee. I called the U.S. folks in the Paralympic movement to clarify the relationship between the two groups, but the public relations person was not available.

The summer and winter games include the following sports, governed by the IPC: Alpine Skiing, Athletics, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey, Powerlifting, Shooting, Swimming, Wheelchair Dance Sport, plus several sports regulated by international federations, and a handful of others under the jurisdiction of International Organization of Sport for the Disabled.

The Paralympics are not to be confused with the Special Olympics, founded by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver. "For people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves."

Not incidentally, this year is the premiere of the Youth Olympic Games;you can find more here.

Of course, there are the Olympics, which ran for about 1000 years, then was canceled for over a millennium, with a few furtive attempts to restart during that time. I'm not going to talk about the modern Games, which started in 1896, except for three things:
1) if I ever get to Switzerland, I MUST go to the Olympic museum
2) a really cool feature on the olympic.org site is feature that can retrieve all the Olympic results from 1896 through 2008; Vancouver is not yet represented.
3)Juan Antonio Samaranch, former IOC head, recently died. Got to say that he really modernized the financing of the games, though there were some issues over the Salt Lake City Games. And, except for American Avery Brundidge, he was the only IOC head I could name.


Sumi, the Paralympics mascot

ABC Wednesday
ROG

23 comments:

Leslie: said...

As you know, I thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic two weeks the Olympics took place here in Vancouver! Great choice for today. :D

Sylvia K said...

I think the Paralympics are wonderful! I worked with a program for the disabled many years ago when we were still trying to just get ramps built and thought that was great! Anything was better than what they had at the time in that small Montana town. My kids Dad was in the 64 Olympics in Japan, so we've had an interest for a long time. Great post, Roger, as always! Hope your week is going well!

Sylvia

Reader Wil said...

It's great that there are the Paralympics and the Special Olympics. The sportsmen and sportswomen of these organizations veel so happy and proud to take part in these sport events. And right they are.
Great post, Roger!

Mara said...

I love the Olympics and always feel sad the Paralympics is not shown more. I remember a few years ago when there was some weelchair athletics event taking place during the regular Olympics. That's the way it should be!

Oh, Jacques Rogge (who's Belgian I think) is the current head honcho!

Tumblewords: said...

I'd like to see a lot more coverage of this Olympics. Excellent post for O.

anthonynorth said...

Olympic mania is getting close here in the UK. Should be a good Games.

Joy said...

They tend to cover the summer paralympics here but not so much the winter ones, why the difference, who knows. Is that a ice hockey picture, sure looks interesting.

Jama said...

My country will be taking part in the Youth Olympic ,can't wait for that!

Paula Scott said...

I never know what to expect with your posts, but they are always educational and fascinating! thank you once again!

Beverley Baird said...

What a great, informative post! I loved the Olympics as well as the Paraolympics. So many talented athletes!
Thanks for all the info!

Hildred and Charles said...

We saw some wonderful shots of the Paralympics and I find the dedication and accomplishments of the athletes quite incredible.

LisaF said...

I didn't know about the Paralympics. They sound like a wonderful opportunity to show a different kind of strength and determination. Thanks for highlighting such a great event.

dragonfly said...

Heard Apolo the Speed Skater speak today at a seminar, he was very inspirational!
Thanks for sharing sports is always welcome!

jabblog said...

Olympics, Paralympics, Special Olympics, Winter and Summer Olympics - all the competitors must feel so proud, so honoured to represent their nations. More opportunities can only be welcomed.

Serline said...

Thanks for sharing about lesser known "-lympics". As a Singaporean, I hope the upcoming Youth Olympics we are hosting would be a resounding success.

Manang Kim said...

Again, great information Roger. That is why I like to see what you come up with every week ^_^ Thanks for the visit and Happy weekend!

ABC Wednesday~O

Gattina said...

I have to admit that I didn't watch the Olympics at all !

lv2scpbk said...

A great post. Not sure why I didn't think of that. DH loves to watch sports.

Nydia said...

These athletes are incredible! Great O post, Roger.


Kisses from Nydia.

Jay said...

Excellent post! I must admit I'm not a devotee of the Olympics, but if I had to watch, I think I'd prefer the Paralympics.

The Fairweather Blogger said...

I much prefer to watch the Paralympics to the Olympics - the courage and determination of these people is inspirational.

Thanks for visiting the Fairweather Blogger. The operation was a success - but the morphine has worn off!!

Gary

Ann said...

Didn't know Para and special olympics are two different things.

We had sad news, one of the Gold winner who was born with spina bifida, he came home rejoicing. A week later, his mum died in a car accident.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

The Paralympics is a great event - all such worthy competitors, I have great admiration for them.