Paralympics Respond to President Trump’s “Tough to Watch” Insensitive Comments
We all know how the current US president can be a bit rude with his words. It has been a subject of much debate and ridicule in social media platforms about how he has no brain to mouth filter, and some would outright call him arrogant or ignorant. Another such event happened a couple of weeks ago during his speech after the Paralympics.
Though most of his words seemed to be kind enough, however, what sparked the ire and disbelief of many are when he described the Paralympics as “tough to watch.”
The sequence of events
Mere hours after President Donald Trump said that the Paralympic Games were tough to watch, the organization called out the President and also told him to join the billions of viewers around the world who are actually inspired by the competition, instead of flinching away from what was happening.
The organization tweeted that record numbers of people around the world aren’t finding the Paralympic games tough to watch at all. They further added that billions of viewers now take in the Paralympics in countless countries around the world.
The tweet was in response to the remark that President Trump made at a Friday ceremony celebrating this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. He said that what happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to him. So far so good.
However, he followed up with the aforementioned remark that he only watched as much as he could because it was a little tough to watch. The remark sparked immediate backlash online, with many recalling an incident during the 2016 presidential campaign when Trump appeared to mock a reporter with a physical disability. Of course, Trump denied these accusations, and people were just looking for a reason to mar his good name.
Sport for athletes with an impairment has existed for more than 100 years, and the first sports clubs for the deaf were already in existence in 1888 in Berlin. It was not until after World War II, however, that it was widely introduced. The purpose of it at that time was to assist the significant number of war veterans and civilians who had been injured during wartime.
In 1944, at the request of the British Government, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann opened a spinal injuries center at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain, and in time, rehabilitation sport evolved to recreational sport and then to competitive sport.
On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organized the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games, a milestone in Paralympics history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery. In 1952, Dutch ex-servicemen joined the Movement, and the International Stoke Mandeville Games were founded.
These Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years. In 1976 the first Winter Games in Paralympics history were held in Sweden, and as with the Summer Games, have taken place every four years and include a Paralympics Opening Ceremony and Paralympics Closing Ceremony.
Since the Summer Games of Seoul, Korea in 1988 and the Winter Games in Albertville, France in 1992, the Games have also taken part in the same cities and venues as the Olympics due to an agreement between the IPC and IOC.
Also in 1960, under the aegis of the World Federation of ex-servicemen, an International Working Group on Sport for the Disabled was set up to study the problems of sport for persons with an impairment.
It resulted in the creation, in 1964, of the International Sports Organisation for the Disabled (IOSD) who offered opportunities for those athletes who could not affiliate to the International Stoke Mandeville Games: visually impaired, amputees, persons with cerebral palsy and paraplegics.
Some say that people are looking for offense where nothing can be found. They say that today’s climate of hypocrisy and the anonymity that the internet gives us, it is easy to point the finger of blame at a person that has been known to be insensitive when it comes to speaking. What do you think about this?
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