Paralympians in the Olympics?
5 April 2016
We asked over 2,000 people if they supported integrating disabled athletes into the Olympic Games and other sporting competitions.
48% of people agreed disabled atheletes should be allowed to compete alongside non-disabled athletes. Only 29% disagreed.
‘The findings thrown up by this research are extremely interesting, and will no doubt trigger further debate, which is only right.
‘Leonard Cheshire Disability supports all disabled athletes. We also care passionately about creating greater sporting and exercise opportunities for disabled people wanting to participate purely for leisure.
‘The benefits for both physical and mental health are the same for everyone.’
There was no significant percentage difference found between the views of disabled and non-disabled people.
‘Leonard Cheshire Disability is constantly measuring and reflecting on the views of the disabled people we support, as well as the views of non-disabled people.’
The athletes' view on integration
London 2012 was perhaps the watershed moment, when a disabled runner ran with non-disabled athletes at an Olympic Games for the first time.
Last year, multiple gold medal winning Paralympian David Weir CBE lobbied for wheelchair athletes to be allowed to compete on the mainstream athletics circuit.
This year, Markus Rehm — a long jumper with a prosthetic limb — has jumped further than the distance recorded when Greg Rutherford MBE won gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
Markus has said he would like to compete at the Olympics in Rio, even if not for a medal.
‘Being at the Olympics representing my country would be a special feeling. I can represent Paralympic sport as well, and it would be an amazing chance to show what Paralympic athletes are able to achieve.’
The International Paralympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee will be the ones who ultimately decide on integration.
In the meantime, we are all looking forward to this year’s Paralympics — a fantastic showcase for the phenomenal sporting feats being achieved by disabled people.