Merging the Paralympics with the Olympics

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For many, the Oscar Pistorius story is a story about technology. Very cool technology. But others see something else. Pointing to Pistorius and other athletes, such as Canmore cross-country skier Brian McKeever, a multiple gold medal winner in Paralympic games who qualified for Canada's Olympic team in 2010. Some say it's time to re-think the distinctions we make between competitors in the Olympics and Paralympics. It's time to start thinking about integrating the games. With the Olympics just ended and the Paralympics set to begin, we discuss that idea today.


Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current

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It's Monday, August 13th.

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This is The Current.

Merging the Paralympics with the Olympics - Panel

The Olympics ended yesterday and the Paralympics will open in London on August 29. To many of us, the Olympics and Paralympics may seem a world apart, but not so much to Oscar Pistorius. Oscar Pistorius is known as the fastest man on no legs -- or the Blade Runner for the space-age prosthetic legs that have made him a controversial figure in the track and field world.

Either way, the South African sprinter is one of a very small number of athletes to compete at both the Paralympics and the Olympic games. But there are so many powerful Paralympians, that the lines between able-bodied and disabled athletes in elite competition are getting blurred. It has some fans and competitors wondering whether a merger of the Olympics and the Paralympics is desirable -- even inevitable.

Our first guest would like to see the Olympics become more integrated. Eli Wolff is a former Paralympic soccer player, the Director of the Inclusive Sports Initiative at the Institute for Human Centered Design and the Director of the Sport and Development Project at Brown University. He joined us from Boston.

And Elisabeth Walker-Young is a former Canadian paralympic swimmer. She won six medals in her career and broke several Canadian and world records. Elisabeth is part of the leadership group that will accompany the Canadian Paralympic Team to London. She was in Vancouver.

Merging the Paralympics with the Olympics - Creative Futures Institute

Our next guest believes that if modern Olympics were invented today, there wouldn't be a separate games for disabled athletes. There might even be more athletes competing since technological enhancements might rescue athletes from career-ending injuries.

Andy Miah is the Director of the Creative Futures Institute at the University of The West of Scotland. We reached him in Oxford, England.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch, Pedro Sanchez and Tendisai Crowell.


Other segment from today's show:

The Boy with a Past: Documentary Repeat

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