The Olympics Will Guilt You Into Tuning In

There are plenty of compelling narratives to go around this Olympics, and if what you need to really get into the spirit of competition is a little drama, NBC's got you covered because network television has figured out that Clash of Nations is just too bellicose a sell for the summer games. Far better, figure the TV producers, to inject a little human suffering into each competition, that way viewers will feel guilty for not tuning in and supporting a one-armed gymnast whose parents made her do meth with them, and whose body, btw, is riddled with cancer.


via HuffPo [HuffPo]

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So, I get that this is a parody, but it does bring up a question for me. There are some athletes competing in this years games that are paraplegics or in some other way physically disabled. While I think that it's great that these athletes get to compete in the Olympics, I do wonder why they're not competing in the Paralympics. It's my understanding that Paralympic athletes often compete at the same level as Olympic athletes, so what sets these few apart so that they get to compete in the Olympics? Or is my understanding incorrect, and any physically disabled person can compete as long as they qualify?