Der Spiegel reports on athletes pretending to be handicapped in order to compete in the Paralympic venues:
But there is even trickery, deception and lying in disabled sports. There are plenty of dissemblers among the participants, people who, in medical inspections, deliberately paint their state of health in more dramatic terms than it is, thereby competing under false pretenses in events that are becoming increasingly popular and also provide the opportunity to make a lot of money...More at the link.
There are competition-like tests, in which the athletes, depending on the type of sport involved, have to demonstrate which movements they can perform on wheels, while throwing the javelin or in a sailboat. There are 41 classes in track & field alone. The lines between the classes are fluid...
In the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, 11 athletes were sent home after cheating their way into favorable classes. At the Sydney games in 2000, the Spanish mentally handicapped basketball team won the gold medal. It later turned out that 10 players were completely healthy. They had never completed the IQ test that was supposed to have been administered...
There are similar cases in winter sports. Athletes still joke about a Russian cross-country skier who competed as a visually impaired athlete at the Turin Paralympics in 2006. After she had reached the finish line with her escort, she turned her head to the display panel, which showed that she had won a medal. The allegedly blind athlete then threw her arms up into the air and cheered.
Photo credit: Reuters.
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