Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Let us all praise paralympians

Tatyana (left) and Hannah in 2012
Today the Paralympics kick off in Rio. 165 countries will participate and The Guardian expressed this hope - shared no doubt by all of us - for the event:
If everything goes to plan, all anyone will want to talk about when the closing ceremony is held on 18 September is how the standard of competition in the Paralympics has never been higher...[and will] feel nothing but optimism for a brighter future in which, rather than having to deal with condescending pats on the head for somehow summoning the bravery to take part, Paralympians are viewed in the same light as their Olympic counterparts.
To mark the occasion, Google has launched an animated doodle depicting the variety of sports in which disabled athletes will participate: 
Note: I would appreciate it if somebody could point out the weightlifter's disability. Too subtle for my drained caregiver brain, I suppose.

As expected, the Paralympics bring to light tales of courage and tenacity that far surpass those emanating from the abled Olympics.
But the one below is in a category all its own...
A ‘Unique Household’

...Born with spina bifida and adopted from a Russian orphanage, Tatyana McFadden, 27, is paralyzed from the waist down. Hannah McFadden, 20, adopted from Albania, born without a femur in her left leg, is an above-the-knee amputee. She uses a prosthesis to walk and a wheelchair to race.

Ruthi McFadden, 17, also adopted from Albania, is the outlier — no wheelchair, no prosthetic leg to pop off at airport security and hand to a T.S.A. agent, as Hannah does for kicks. She has no desire to run the length of a basketball court, let alone a marathon. “I don’t like to sweat,” she tells her sisters.

“Our family is a very unique household,” said Hannah McFadden, legs slung over an ottoman in the living room. “If you took a family photo right now, you got Grandma with an oxygen tank, probably sassing the photographer.” (The oxygen tank comes courtesy of decades of smoking; the sassing comes naturally.)
She continued: “Ruthi talking about all the boyfriends she has. Tatyana wishing she had all the boyfriends. And me saying, ‘Where’s the food?’ You’d have all those different things going on and oh, yeah, and then parents, Deb and Bridget. We have two moms.
Read more about them in the New York Times article here.


Anonymous said...

Do they have to have a disability visible in those icons? Say the weightlifter had Fragile X or Down Syndrome, autism?

The Sound of the Silent said...

Thanks so much for reminding me that many disabilities are hidden. Presumably that is the very message that Google is conveying in the weightlifter icon with no discernible disability.

manuscriptboy said...

The weightlifter is lying down, as suggested by the lines running parallel to the athlete. According to Wikipedia, 'The only discipline in Paralympic powerlifting is the bench press'

Rebecca Yourig said...

I feel that those with the mental disabilities, whether behavioral, emotional, academic, cognitive, etc are the most vulnerable of all

The Sound of the Silent said...

Thanks so much for clearing that up, Manuscriptboy. While many disabilities are undiscernible, every other Google icon here did depict a visible one so it made sense that the weightlifting one would too.