The Second Class Games? Apathy and Nonchalance Haunt Vancouver's Paralympics

Image Credit: VANOC

The first weekend of the Paralympic Games has passed, and an atmosphere of apathy and nonchalance seems to be floating around in Vancouver. Judging by the relative normality of Vancouver, significantly less Olympic television and media coverage, and a reduction in the numbers of patriotic Canadians parading the streets, a lack of enthusiasm towards the Parallel Olympic Games is really quite clear. The disparity in public attention and media between the two Games speaks volumes, and sadly reflects a rather disturbing majority disposition.

The Parallel Olympic Games are left in the shadows of the previous Games, and this injustice is going unaddressed. Why the lack of enthusiasm? Why the difference in public attention and interest? Why are these Games being (comparatively) neglected?

Paralympic athletes exemplify athleticism, discipline, talent and skill, yet they do not receive the same amount of public interest, attention and glory as “regular” Olympic athletes. Let’s face it – this is a fact. Look around you, and compare how many flags, red and white clothing, and people-jammed streets you see now, versus the weeks prior.

These athletes deserve better. They deserve an equal amount of media coverage, corporate sponsorship and public attention, but sadly, the media seems to act on assumed public interest, and does not adequately broadcast the Paralympic Games.

In a conversation with a Skytrain rider about this issue, she suggested that many people are unfamiliar with many disabilities and unacquainted with disabled persons, and she theorized that perhaps this is why the public attention and interest for the Paralympic Games are comparatively lesser than the Olympic Games.

Be that as it may, the Parallel Olympic Games should not be second class. What difference does it make that Paralympic athletes are physically or mentally disabled? These Games showcases the athleticism, sportsmanship, talent and sheer determination of these athletes and that definitely deserves the world's attention.


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