Canadian runner says Paralympic, Olympic comparison 'not okay'
Guillaume Ouellet urges journalists to 'tell the truth'
RIO DE JANEIRO — Guillaume Ouellet finished ninth in the T13 1500-metre final on Sunday, but is more frustrated by the media's attention the race has been getting.
Applauded by various media outlets as a breakthrough in Paralympic sport for being faster than the Olympic race, Ouellet urges journalists to "tell the truth," about the tactical race where the podium finishers performed well below their personal best.
"They try to say that we are at the same level as Olympians and that's not okay." Ouellet remarked after his 5,000 final this morning where he finished fourth overall. "I don't think that's the way we should promote Paralympic sport."
In the slowest 1,500 Olympic race since 1932, Matthew Centrowitz Jr. of the United States held the field back from running at the typical Olympic pace, before a strong finishing kick won him the first American gold medal in the distance since 1908.
Ouellet calls this kind of out-of-context reporting on the story irresponsible, and urges the media to focus on the honest stories of the Games.
"There are tremendous stories out there," the 29-year-old, first-time Paralympian said. "Give attention to those stories to draw more interest to the Paralympic Games and Paralympic sports in general."
Ouellet, who is from Sorel, Que., won gold in the 1,500 at the 2015 Parapan Am Games, and was the T13 world champion over 5,000 metres in Doha.
With files from the Canadian Paralympic Media Consortium