2010 Paralympics
March 17, 2010 1:31 PM   Subscribe

Live online broadcast of the 2010 Paralympic Games (Silverlight required). The Paralympics are back, this time in Vancouver. Sledge hockey, alpine & cross-country skiing, biathalon and curling. You can watch every event live or recorded on ParalympicSport.tv or see some photos at The Big Picture.
posted by GuyZero (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fun Fact: The BC Provincial government has slashed services for people with disabilities to pay for this stupid fucking bullshit!
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 1:47 PM on March 17, 2010

The Paralympics are interesting. I've never watched them and I don't really know too much about them. With all the concern over technology and fairness in the regular Olympics, where things like the material and construction of uniforms are hotly contested issues, I'm curious how the Paralympics are standardized. From the pictures it looks like there's quite a bit of variation concerning players' limbs, for example. How do they ensure fairness when a player missing his leg from the knee down is up against a player with both legs? On the other hand, how much tricking-out is permitted on prosthetics and other tools like wheelchairs? Seems like there's a lot of potential for technical assistance/cheating there.

I'm sure there are plenty of rules in place. I'm just curious about what they are and how they're enforced.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:20 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

"At the Paralympics, medal competitors are grouped using a complex classification system that even the International Paralympic Committee's medical director admits is "a work in progress.''" - from CTV. More:

"For alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and biathlon, athletes who compete in the standing class can have double arm or leg amputation, single arm or leg amputation, or equivalent impairments.

For the sitting class, athletes can have paraplegia or double leg amputation, while those hoping to compete in the visually-impaired events can have either no functional vision, three to five per cent vision, or no more than 10 per cent vision."

The article covers it pretty well - there are a lot of permutations and time isn't the only factor in determining who wins.
posted by GuyZero at 3:00 PM on March 17, 2010

I see! Well, not entirely 'cause your link is broken. :-)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:03 PM on March 17, 2010

Gosh darn it.

Paralympian categories help realize dreams
posted by GuyZero at 3:04 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Holy crap, the paralympics is badass. I was not aware there is hockey. HOCKEY, people!
posted by Never teh Bride at 6:11 PM on March 17, 2010

Ski racing is typically a solitary pursuit – you versus the course. But when it involves blind competitors, who travel at speeds of up to 120 km/h on a downhill course, it becomes a team game, where communication is vital and trust a necessity.
posted by gman at 6:44 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Big Picture. The blind skier's goggles had me LOL. Some pretty awesome photos in there.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:34 PM on March 17, 2010

I hope the conditions have somehow improved. It was bad enough 2 weeks ago for the outdoor sports--I can't imagine what's left now.
posted by Decimask at 8:45 PM on March 17, 2010

I grew up on skis and have always been amazed by blind skiers. I can't imagine having the courage to ski a giant slalom blind. These athletes are incredible.
posted by swerve at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2010

To complicate matters, sometimes not enough athletes show up to run a full competition in their class and that class and the adjacent one are combined. Suddenly one group is up against less-disabled competitors. Functional classification is indeed an immensely complex, sometimes self-contradictory system, but no one has come up with a workable alternative.

You might be even more interested to know that the highest (least disabled) classifications of some disciplines do not actually preclude nondisabled people. I wrote an article ages ago about nondisabled people who won wheelchair marathons, for example (in the T4 class). By definition many blind skiers’ and biathletes’ guides are nondisabled, and they win the same medals the people they’re guiding do.
posted by joeclark at 2:56 PM on March 18, 2010

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