Should Olympics and Paralympics

Posted by Ralph | 7:19 PM

In our most recent poll on this and the Blenz Community site we asked our readers “Do you think the Paralympic Games should be held at the same time as the Olympic Games?” The results are in: Yes 63% versus No 37%. Interesting!

Paralympic Symbol
Almost two thirds of voters think these largest sports competitions for people with the highest athletic ability belong together. The name “Paralympics” actually supports that point of view: “Paralympics” has its roots in the Greek prefix “para-” (in this context, “beside” or “alongside”); hence “Paralympics” translates into “alongside the Olympics”, and may also be interpreted as “Parallel Olympics”.

The New Zealand Winter Games in August 2009 embraced the concept of “Parallel Athletic Competition” by mixing the timetables for able-bodied and disabled athletes. They were the first major event where adaptive athletes competed on the same course on the same day as able-bodied athletes. So the idea of athletic inclusion has already been realised on a smaller scale. Why not take it to the next level?

Olympic Flag
Benefits of holding the Olympics and Paralympics at the same time could be amongst others:

•Greater momentum for these two events ultimately raising the profile of both competitions
•Higher integration and overall efficiency in the areas of organisation, publicity and operations
•Message of inclusiveness
I think that delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a combined event – we could call it “The Joint Games” – would pose an amazing opportunity. As in other cases, when two or more parties put their intentions and energies together, something much bigger is being born than the plain sum total of the individual components.

Can you imagine the degree of inspiration able-bodied and disabled athletes could draw from each other and share with the world? And how about stretching the imagination even further to the possibility of disabled athletes competing with able-bodied athletes, at least in a few disciplines? Is that a possibility for the future?

Coming Together
Looking at our world, it’s time for more inclusion and less separation on a larger scale. One joint showcase for the athletic values of hope, excellence, respect, harmony, friendship and equality would be a milestone in human history. Combining the Olympic motto ‘Faster – Higher – Stronger’ with the Paralympic ‘Spirit in Motion’ would establish a solid foundation for athletic excellence, global connection and human inspiration beyond anything known before. People seem to be ready for it.

So which host city will be the first one to dare and hold “The Joint Games”?


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