Olympic, Legally blind skiier has ethics
February 28, 2010 9:47pm CST
I wasn't sure whether to post this discussion under Olympics or disability then I thought about what Brian McKeever would want and the choice was obvious. I wrote this article about him: Brian McKeever of Canadian cross-country skiing lost his bid to become the first athlete to compete in both the winter Olympics and the winter Paralympics. He was selected for the Olympic team as an alternate. He hoped to get a berth in the 50 kilometer cross-country race today, but each country is only allowed four spots. McKeever, who has a condition called Stargardt’s Disease, began losing his vision in college. He never wanted to be treated differently from other athletes. This desire contradicted the, in my opinion, wrong-headed opinions of some disability rights activists in Canada who thought that he should be allowed to race anyway, in spite of not gaining a guaranteed participatory spot on the team. I support Brian’s take on the matter. How are people with disabilities ever going to gain the necessary respect of colleagues in any field when those same people can assume that so and so was awarded a place because she or he is disabled. While it’s true that sometimes people with disabilities need accommodations, such as sign language interpreters Braille print outs, and the moving of events to accessible facilities, we should not ask or expect the rules to change just to give us an advantage. If I want to play, all the powers that be have to do is move the game to where I can play or information present to me in a form I can access. Let me lose or win on my own merits; following the same rules as everyone else. Otherwise, any victory is suspect. What do you think? Agree or disagree?
1 Mar 10
I agree with you. I suppose this would have been "positive discrimination" in that he didn't gain a spot on his merits. I think the effect of positive discrimination is to make the people who didn't get selected feel angry and hard done by. I can quite understand Brian McKeever's desire to compete on his own merits and to gain success because of his talent, not because he's been given preferential treatment.
• Garden Grove, California
1 Mar 10
hi cripfemme I had to think for a while but of course that does make sense as theres always someone wanting to tear down a person who is handicapped as all they see is the handicap not the person with the handicap at all. Yes if the handicapped person wins on his own merit nobody can say anything ugly all was fair, he had no more advantages then anyone else.