Friday, March 14, 2014 | Categories: Episodes
Brad Zdanivsky scales the "Uncle Ben's Climb" in Squamish, BC in 2009. Brad says he needs to use "boosting" to complete difficult climbs. (Photo Chris Joseph)
The world's paralympic athletes have done a lot to boost national pride at the 2014 Sochi games. Whether they've done any boosting themselves is a secret. Boosting is a performance enhancing technique that some call cheating and others call leveling the playing field. Some athletes with spinal cord injuries deliberately hurt themselves which "boosts" their blood pressure -- and apparently their performance. Methods include sitting on tacks, uncomfortably full bladders, electrical shocks to the legs or genitals and even breaking toes. The practice was banned in 1994 by the International Paralympic Committee but it's almost impossible to detect.
For obvious reasons, paralympians are reluctant to talk about it but Brad Zdanivsky has been open about his need to boost. He's a quadriplegic rock climber. Brad was an avid climber before a car accident crushed his spine. He wasn't prepared to give up his sport but found he couldn't do it without "boosting".Listen to him describe what it feels like to get an electric shock... on the side of a mountain.
What do you think of this...? Do you think boosting is a fair way to enhance performance, or should the ban stay in place? And, if you're an athlete who boosts, let us know what it does for you?
This segment was produced by CBC's Yvonne Gall.