I've got it all figured out.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ask the Magic Internet a Stupid Question No. 0003

Welcome to our third installment of AMISQ. Want to know what it’s all about? Just click on the phrase below the picture.

With that out of the way let’s do as Shirley Ellis says and Get right down to the real nitty gritty.

Question 3: How disabled do you have to be to compete in the Paralympics?

A while back Canada hosted the Winter Olympics. Apart from the Hockey it was a real suckfest. But what I learned is that they hold the Paralympics right after the regular Olympics in the same country. The Paralympics is like the regular Olympics but for athletes with disabilities.

That got me thinking. Just how disabled do you have to be to compete in the Paralympics? Could Ben Johnson just go and cut off his finger and compete?

I’ll have to think of a new celebration but damn it’ll be worth it.

And what about the grossly obese? Isn’t obesity considered a disability now? Can they compete? My money wouldn’t be on them for them for the 100 meter dash but good luck trying to pin them in the wrestling ring.

Unless they have to face this dude.

And what about prosthetics? Have you seen that guy that runs on those blade things?

He was disqualified from competing in the regular Olympics because he was too fast! But prosthetics have to be allowed in the Paralympics otherwise it’s going to be a long race. But to what extent are they allowed? What’s stopping someone with no legs just jamming their torso into a go cart to race? Or better yet one of these.

I’m thinking even I could win in this thing.

Or why not go a step even further. What’s stopping me from removing my brain and putting it in a big robot like Krang?

I could even remove all the brains of the Harlem Globe Trotters and put them in 30 foot robots.

Feed me the rock you j-j-j-j-jive turk-e.

So what say you Magic Internet? I know it’s a lot to jam into one question but Ben’s got his finger poised over the garbage disposal here.

Beep Beeeeeep Boop (sound from the beginning of that stupid Bran van 3000 song) Zrrrrrrrt. Ding!

Magic Internet Answer: Excellent question Johnny, so multifaceted. The Paralympics groups its athletes into one of four distinct categories. They are as follows:

- Amputee: Athletes with a partial or total loss of at least one limb.

- Cerebral Palsy: Athletes with non-progressive brain damage, for example Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke or similar disabilities affecting muscle control, balance or coordination.

- Intellectual Disability: Athletes with a significant impairment in intellectual functioning and associated limitations in adaptive behavior. The Paralympics primarily serves athletes with physical disabilities, but the disability group Intellectual Disabilaty have been added to some Paralympic Games. This includes only elite athletes with intellectual disabilites, where few qualify.

- Wheelchair: Athletes with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities which require them to compete in a wheelchair.

- Visually Impaired: Athletes with visual impairment ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged legally blind, to total blindness.

- Les Autres: Athletes with a physical disability that does not fall strictly under one of the other five categories, such as dwarfism, multiple sclerosis or congenital deformities of the limbs such as that caused by thalidomide. (The name for this category is the French for the others. And before you ask, no, ghosts would not be allowed to compete because they are not human).
There are committees for each one of these groups and there are further committees for each different event. These committees closely examine each individual athlete to determine their specific disability category. They then do their best to gage how much the disability hinders the athlete. Athletes for each event are then grouped or paired with athletes that are considered equally challenged.

So Ben Johnson would have to cut off a lot more than his finger in order to qualify as an Amputee. If Ben were to remove a limb in order to compete his considerable running experience would still be brought in to account and he would be paired with athletes of equal or near equal skill (that may be difficult though as the Paralympics, like the Olympics have strict ant-doping rules. Ha, ha, internet make joke ;)) Oscar Pistorius (the guy that runs on the blades to you) would make a suitable competitor for Ben and I must correct you. Oscars disqualification from competing in the Olympics was over-turned however he missed the qualification time by .70 seconds and did not compete.


As for using a motorized wheel chair, the Paralympics has strict rules governing wheel chairs for different events. In particular Rule 159 Para 5 states: No mechanical gears or levers shall be allowed, that may be used to propel the chair. It would be no stretch of the imagination to assume that putting one’s brain in a giant robot would also be grounds for disqualification.

No cyborgs aaaalloooowwwwed.

Your sub-question regarding the inclusion of obese athletes in the Paralympics is most perplexing. Many courts in both Canada and the United States have recognized obesity as a disability but the issue is still up for debate. It would be up to the Paralympics Committee to determine if an obese individual would qualify. With the Paralympics focus on athletics and fitness it is hard to see them allowing an athlete to compete solely on obesity but if they did I imagine it would be categorized under Les Autres and they would compete against other obese athletes. Which could open the gates for something I’m sure you would find exciting…

an all obese Olympics.

Oh my god, oh my god oh my god. You’ve made my day. Thanks Magic Internet!

Hey, where did it go? Wow, I guess the internet really is magic.

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