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Paralympic Pride

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Today as Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov is celebrating his appointment as president of the Russian Olympic Committee, and promising to revive Soviet era sporting predominance after a miserable showing in Vancouver, the New York Times has a thoughtful piece highlighting the triumph of the Paralympic team who gained first place in Vancouver (gaining much less media attention, oddly, than their castigated losing counterparts).  The piece really focuses on the trials of living as a disabled person in Moscow, where little has been done to meet the needs of those in wheelchairs:

A lack of ramps and elevators and minimal access to public transportation means that only the hardiest of those with physical disabilities can leave their homes on their own, let alone keep up with the rigorous training regimen and travel schedule of a successful athletic team.

“We are used to fighting,” Mr. Shilov said. “Fighting, firstly, for our survival against staircases and other barriers.”

At a practice last month, Mr. Shilov and his teammates had to avoidcars and pedestrians walking dogs while doing laps in their wheelchairsin the parking lot that serves as their training center for summersports.

Even getting to practice can be a workout. Athleteswithout cars have to hoist themselves up and down the stairs of subwaystations and underground crossings.

Read the whole article here.