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Thread: Olympians, Except When Not Allowed

  1. #1 Olympians, Except When Not Allowed 
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Topic:
    Do you think Paralympic athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics?

    Long Story Short:
    I have a couple friends who are physically disabled. Neither compete, but last night one of them was talking to me about the current argument among athletes concerning who should be allowed to compete in the Olympics.

    She believed paralympians should, and I agreed, but I wasn't sure about what that would mean to the games.

    I'm not so much concerned about the humanity side of the issue. Everyone's equal, regardless of disability or ability.

    What concerns me is technology.

    We're already experiencing problems with technology leaking into the Olympics to give athletes an edge. Ethical and fairness issues aside, with the Olympics we're talking technology that isn't necessary to compete. You don't actually need a Teflon full-body, custom fitted swimsuit, to swim.

    But what happens with the argument concerning paralympians? I think everyone will agree that everyone has the right to compete, but there's a large level of technology endemic to the paralympic games, simply because of the nature of the athletes participating.

    How do we ensure that someone's prosthetics aren't giving them an unfair advantage? How do we determine what technology is needed, and what isn't? If we determine a limit, does that limit the athlete?

    What are all your opinions on this subject?

    One (of many) links:
    http://www.rehabpub.com/features/1022005/1.asp


    Wolf
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  3. #2  
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    Participation and qualification for the Olympics is usually up to individual sports federations and not some larger Olympic 'in-group'. Sports federations set their own standards with some conditions set on a broader scale but these don't involve the ins and outs of how the particulars of sport is conducted. The actual 'Olympic' organizers try to have as much distance as possible from the actual sports to avoid bureaucratic nightmares of controlling dozens of sports in over a hundred countries.

    If some disabled athlete wants to qualify for the triple jump or hockey or equestrian, etc. then that particular federation sets the standards. Olympics are every four years but competition goes on every year. Athletes aren't simply chosen by their countries and show up at the last moment at the Olympics every 4 years. They qualify within their own country and have competed internationall and most federations demand strict standards. It's up to the archery federation whether someone can qualify in that sport if they shoot an arrow from a sitting position (such as a wheelchair) and not standing up....it has nothing to do with the Olympics.


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    What word besides "Olympics" should I use to refer to that whole subject?
    Wolf
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    I don't think it would work.

    If the handicapped contestants do not have a reasonable chance of winning then they are not competing, just participating, which is pointless.

    If they do have an even chance of winning it would be because they are using a wheelchair or prosthetic to even the odds. Somebody will have to determine what devices are allowed to even the odds, but not tilt them them in favor of the handicapped contestant. So whoever wins, it will depend heavily on the rule makers, and will not really determine the best athlete.
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    Ah, someone's on focus.

    From poking around, do'n a little research, there appears to be two issues.

    1. There's a some issue with disabled athletes competing in the Olympic games themselves.

    2. People seem to be more concerned that the disabled athletes, not the other athletes, will have the advantage.

    The argument though is that a lot of disabled athletes compete in the games because they want to compete against the best in the world. But not being allowed to compete in the Olympics means they are denied this chance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    What word besides "Olympics" should I use to refer to that whole subject?
    There isn't some super body that determines world sporting. Baseball in th USA is run by it's own legal entity. FIFA is the governing body of football....alpine skiing has it's own federation, etc. the Olympic committee invites representative sports groups (after input from various leagues, etc.) to participate in the Olympics. They invite the International Ice Hockey Federation, etc. Often these groups follow their own standards. In hockey, for instance, there is separation of male and female athletes...in Equestrian there isn't. In hockey there is age eligibility...in gymanstics there isn't. In boxing there are weight classes....in hockey there isn't.

    The 'Olympics' doesn't determine who participates or how the demographic pie is divided in a particular sport. they leave it up to the particular sport to determine. The members on the permanent committee might know zilch about fencing or sychronized swimming, curling and so on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I don't think it would work.

    If the handicapped contestants do not have a reasonable chance of winning then they are not competing, just participating, which is pointless.

    So whoever wins, it will depend heavily on the rule makers, and will not really determine the best athlete.
    True. And the rule makers are not the Olympics. The sports represented in the Olympics have an existence outside of th Games and the Olympics are a minutia of what they represent. there is soccer outside of the olympics...and hockey...and skiiing... Soccer rules are not all suddenly changed because it's 'the Olympics'. If a disabled athlete wants to compete in the Olympics 'with the best', then he doesn't show up at the Olympics and expect in but needs to be at the other 999 events and qualifies or not according to the standards of the sport. If skiing accepts bionic legs or archery computer eyeballs then that's their perogative.
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  9. #8  
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    ....

    I fear I'm losing my implacable calm here....

    Dude, climb up about 30-thousand feet. Yer stating the obvious.

    Everyone knows that there isn't just the Olympic games. We know there's events and competitions and trials leading up to the Olympic games, starting from the local town and going straight up to the national level and beyond.

    Whether you look at the individual sporting events, or the overall process, there's a stop somewhere. That stop appears to consist of these two problems:

    1. an issue with disabled athletes competing with "regular" athletes;

    2. and a concerned that the disabled athletes will have the advantage with their technology.

    The former spawned the Paralympics. The later is a new argument come to light. Both are preventing (whether correctly or not) the merge of the Paralympic games with the Olympic games. That includes disallowing disabled athletes from moving up the path from local to national to international, to qualify for the Olympic games. They can currently only compete in events that lead them towards the Paralympic games.

    Maybe I should have re-worded the post topic to avoid the crux of the issue and just said "athletic discrimination" instead, without the culminating goal of the topic.

    But I'm not sure any of this matters in regards to the question: "Should disabled athletes be allowed to compete with other athletes? Or should they remain separated? And why?"

    Whatever. Out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Maybe I should have re-worded the post topic to avoid the crux of the issue and just said "athletic discrimination" instead, without the culminating goal of the topic.
    It has nothing to do with discrimination. It's just that it isn't a true athletic contest. It would be like having a long jumper compete against a high jumper. It's two different things, so just let the long jumpers compete against long jumpers and high jumpers against high jumpers. That's the way it is already.

    There was a supreme court ruling a couple years ago that said the PGA had to let some disabled golfer compete with a golf cart, but the rules say everybody else has to walk. I disagree. If the guy can't golf because he can't walk, its the same thing as if I can't golf because I have no talent. Neither of us should be pro golfers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    It has nothing to do with discrimination. It's just that it isn't a true athletic contest. It would be like having a long jumper compete against a high jumper. It's two different things, so just let the long jumpers compete against long jumpers and high jumpers against high jumpers. That's the way it is already.

    ... If the guy can't golf because he can't walk, its the same thing as if I can't golf because I have no talent. Neither of us should be pro golfers.
    Agreed. There is a politically correct 'dumbed-down' mediocrity that pervades a lot of society. I'm discriminated against because I'm not 6'5" and the nets are 'too high' in basketball. The Olympics should do away wth their motto of excellence and handing out medals....instead everyone who participates gets a certificate of world brotherhood. :wink:
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  12. #11 Re: Olympians, Except When Not Allowed 
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    I am fully prepared for the lynching that will follow this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Topic:
    Do you think Paralympic athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics?
    No.

    I'm not so much concerned about the humanity side of the issue. Everyone's equal, regardless of disability or ability.
    Except, y'know, they're not. I'd like to know who was the idiot that originally coined that phrase in order to make all the retarded people feel better, since it's obvious that it isn't true.

    I believe it stems from religious belief in that "all humans are created equal". The theory of evolution, as well as many other biology theories (dealing with genetics, etc) make it a simple distinction. Not all humans are EQUAL, and they should NOT be TREATED equally. Stupid people should be scorned, smart people should be...well that I haven't decided on. Disabled people should be treated as such, and have no place in the Olympics.

    But what happens with the argument concerning paralympians? I think everyone will agree that everyone has the right to compete, but there's a large level of technology endemic to the paralympic games, simply because of the nature of the athletes participating.
    Thus the flaw of paralympics, and the "Special Olympics". The Olympics is a physical challenge with quite a bit of mental fortitude put into place. The prior two are nothing but politically-correct inventions made to make people feel better. Which is fine, really, but they still have no place in the regular Olympic games.
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  13. #12 Re: Olympians, Except When Not Allowed 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    I am fully prepared for the lynching that will follow this post.
    Consider yourself lynched. You should find that quite disabling.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    There was a supreme court ruling a couple years ago that said the PGA had to let some disabled golfer compete with a golf cart, but the rules say everybody else has to walk. I disagree. If the guy can't golf because he can't walk, its the same thing as if I can't golf because I have no talent. Neither of us should be pro golfers.
    What's the objective of the PGA? To pit golfers against other golfers to see who plays the best game of golf?

    Or to judge who can stand up the best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Except, y'know, they're not. I'd like to know who was the idiot that originally coined that phrase in order to make all the retarded people feel better, since it's obvious that it isn't true.
    So what you're saying is that if you tomorrow lost your ability to speak, or lost your hands, or became physically retarded, that you were no longer a valid human being with a right to your dreams or to be considered intelligent?

    Not to sound heartless too, but we're not talking about disabled people in nursing homes here. These are legitemate athletes who can do the same things as regular athletes, they just have to do it in a different way.

    It's like saying all left-handed pitchers can't play baseball and aren't valid athletes, just because they can't pitch right-handed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Which is fine, really, but they still have no place in the regular Olympic games.
    Assuming we consider the Olympics to be the pinnacle of athletic events, when a skier in the Olympics takes the gold and waves it about, they are essentially saying "See, I am the best in the world." But a Paralympic skier is denied the chance to challenge that person. Therefore even though they may be a better skier, they'll never be able to wave that gold around. They'll always be considered second rate...and only because of an arbitrary decision that one-legged skiers (for example) are inferior...without proof. Of course, the Olympian with the gold can't actually say he's the best either, because his competition was limited. It's a sham.

    In a milder example: If a 100m dash runner loses her arm, she's now relegated to the Paralympics, despite still being able to run AND being able to beat any whole person in the event. Why is that fair? Or even valid?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Consider yourself lynched.
    I prefer methods that allow audible responses until death. Lynching takes all the fun out of it...
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    "In a milder example: If a 100m dash runner loses her arm, she's now relegated to the Paralympics, despite still being able to run AND being able to beat any whole person in the event. Why is that fair? Or even valid?"

    Please quote the souce of that regulation in the Track and Field Federation or in the U.S. Olympic governing body.

    They are not allowed to compete in High School events? College?

    I can't imagine someone with one arm running a 10.1 100m dash to qualify for the U.S. track team or even to be sent to the qualifications. I doubt, however, they were prevented from trying in high school or were not allowed on to a college team if they met the standards. Athletes don't just show up at the Olympics as you still can't understand. They earn the right to attend after a long proces of qualification. If there are 4 Americans competing in the 100m then they have met benchmarks of performance set by the U.S. Track and field association....the International Equivalent and then qualified by actually placing high in selective events.

    A million folks, disabled or not, don't 'show up' in Beijing and put on their running shoes. Disabled individuals have competed in the Olympics but they qualified like anyone else. A couple years back the USA had a deaf gold medal diver but he still had to go through the qualifying process. ...meet all the standards of the sport federation both in the USA and internationally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    What's the objective of the PGA? To pit golfers against other golfers to see who plays the best game of golf?
    Or to judge who can stand up the best?
    Once upon a time golf involved getting a little exercise, and if you were out of shape, the huffing and puffing could affect your ability to make an accurate shot. I guess the PGA thought that should still be part of the game. Who are the courts to decide what the game of golf is supposed to be about?
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    So what you're saying is that if you tomorrow lost your ability to speak, or lost your hands, or became physically retarded, that you were no longer a valid human being with a right to your dreams or to be considered intelligent?
    Precisely. Actually if I became retarded I'd just want to die. No point in living. Dreams are fine when they are achievable, and they already have Olympics for those types of people. Regular Olympics just should not be violated by them.

    It's like saying all left-handed pitchers can't play baseball and aren't valid athletes, just because they can't pitch right-handed.
    Last I checked, running a race without legs isn't the same as just using your other hand. Now is it?

    They'll always be considered second rate...and only because of an arbitrary decision that one-legged skiers (for example) are inferior...without proof. Of course, the Olympian with the gold can't actually say he's the best either, because his competition was limited. It's a sham.
    A one-legged skier? Okay, now you're just being too empathetic. The day someone with one leg can SKI better than the Olympian, I'll eat my hat. Two legs are there for a reason.

    In a milder example: If a 100m dash runner loses her arm, she's now relegated to the Paralympics, despite still being able to run AND being able to beat any whole person in the event. Why is that fair? Or even valid?
    That's not even on the same topic of discussion. She lost something not really vital to the sport, so she should still be able to compete in the race as usual. That I agree with.
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  18. #17  
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    You are doing such a good job of demonstrating the illogic and misanthropy of your position that it requires little further comment. 8)
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    I think any athlete with a disability that results in a potential advantage shouldn't be allowed to compete. A golfer using a cart is an example of this. The other golfers have to walk around all day long, up and down the hills, in the sun - and the in-shape golfers are going to handle it better.
    A sprinter with one arm or a skiier with one leg doesn't appear to me to gain an advantage, so I'd have no problem with them. Of course, who am I to determine what may constitute an advantage or not?
    It's up to the officials of the given sport/event and I don't have a problem letting them decide.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I think any athlete with a disability that results in a potential advantage shouldn't be allowed to compete.
    A sprinter with one arm or a skiier with one leg doesn't appear to me to gain an advantage, so I'd have no problem with them. Of course, who am I to determine what may constitute an advantage or not?
    It's up to the officials of the given sport/event and I don't have a problem letting them decide.
    On the other hand (assuming you still have two) if no one has any kind of advantage then no one will win. Everyone will cross the finishing line together, or throw the javelin the same distance. Not very interesting.
    It then comes down to what you call an advantage/disadvantage, or ability/disability - and a lot of that is wordplay.
    Think of all the disabled Olympic sprinters, doomed to failure because they failed to take steroids.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You are doing such a good job of demonstrating the illogic and misanthropy of your position that it requires little further comment. 8)
    You're doing such a great job of never inputting any opinion that I've lost all will to bother listening to your perpetually baseless assaults.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You are doing such a good job of demonstrating the illogic and misanthropy of your position that it requires little further comment. 8)
    You're doing such a great job of never inputting any opinion that I've lost all will to bother listening to your perpetually baseless assaults.
    I think you will find
    a) my statement regarding your alleged misanthropy is an opinion.
    b) my observations in the post preceding yours are also opinions
    c) Therefore, your suggestion that I never input an opinion is incorrect.

    My 'assaults' as you call them are decidedly not baseless. You are being (in my far from humble opinion) misanthropic. I use the second definition from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: "marked by a hatred or contempt for humankind".

    You have clearly stated that if you were retarded there would be no point in living. You appear to despise, by your own statements, those who have some marked limitation on their abilities, whether physical or mental. Such caveats apply to the greater portion of humanity. Unless you are well above average in conditioning and physical health most paralympians would beat you, a supposedly able, full bodied human, in their chosen sport.
    Are you not then retarded relative to them? Should perhaps, by your own standards, not consider ending it all?
    Obviously these are rhetorical questions designed to show the illogic of your position. (It's callousness is already self evident.)

    In short my attacks are upon the inhumanity of your stance, which seems to me to be both heartless and logically flawed. These attacks are certainly not baseless. You may feel free to challenge them at any time, but to do so you will have to demonstrate your statements are compassionate and well reasoned.

    Good luck on that.
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  23. #22  
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    Huh. Okay then.

    Unless you are well above average in conditioning and physical health most paralympians would beat you, a supposedly able, full bodied human, in their chosen sport.
    I suppose all the time I spend exercising and training are for nought, aren't they? The point of my attack is that paralympians are supposed to be incapable of achieving what a normal human should. Especially one that has trained most of his/her life and has genetics on his/her side (See: OLYMPIANS) I made no claims that normal people are superior when untrained.

    On the other hand, I did make it clear that they are below in capability to a normal Olympian, which is a highly trained human no less.

    Are you not then retarded relative to them? Should perhaps, by your own standards, not consider ending it all?
    So...you're taking my comparison of Olympians vs. Paralympians and turning it against me, when I'm not an Olympian. Your empathy-blinded attacks are illogical. To the point of completely missing the comparison to begin with.

    Paralympians may be better than most people. Are they better or equal to Olympians? Uh, probably not (I'd like to see that one-legged skier win, by the way).

    In short my attacks are upon the inhumanity of your stance, which seems to me to be both heartless and logically flawed.
    Your attacks are based on your overwhelming misdirected empathy. Based upon my heartlessness or not, yours are the flawed ones. Not mine.

    You may feel free to challenge them at any time, but to do so you will have to demonstrate your statements are compassionate and well reasoned.
    You just setup an impossible ultimatum based upon your subjective world view. Not only do you want me to be COMPASSIONATE about my "reasoning", but you want it to agree with you by the very own standard you set the request by.

    You, sir, are a clown.
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