No Paradoping in Vancouver

Friday, March 12th, 2010

For your information, the tenth (sorry: “X”) Winter Paralympics begin today, also in Vancouver, Canada. Here’s the homepage. (By the way, if you do take a look and your eye happens to catch the headline to this article about the Torch Relay – actually, a YouTube video – be careful not to misinterpret: they’re not getting squeamish about the Relay, rather, the article is about the Relay reaching the town of Squamish, British Columbia.)

To mark the occasion, the German paper Handelsblatt features on its website this interview by a reporter from some Sports Information Service (German abbreviation SID) with the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Briton Sir Philip Craven – who is apparently disabled himself, traveling around in a wheelchair, and also a past paralympic athlete of some note. By and large the transcript is rather humdrum – e.g. how did Sir Philip like the just-concluded Winter Olympics, which nation’s team does he expect to win the most medals at the Paralympic Games, and the like. But one exchange does stand out for me:

SID: “Turin 2006 [i.e. the last Paralympics] had no doping-cases. Do you think this will be different this time?”

Craven: “I hope not. We’re working together very closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada)and continue to emphasize the educational aspect of this work. And it’s clear: If there should be cheaters, they’ll be caught and punished.”

I get it: There will probably be no doping-cheaters turning up at these Paralympic Games. And I have to say that I’m rather relieved to learn that.

One other thing: at the end of the interview the two discuss the recent application made by some snowboarding federation for snowboarding to become an official paralympic sport. Can somebody please explain (or draw a diagram) how paralympic snowboarding is supposed to work? If you e-mail me something, I promise I’ll add it to this post as an Update, with credit to you.

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