Friday, February 26, 2010

No Live TV Coverage of 2010 Paralympics in UK or USA

In 2004 disabled BBC journalist Stuart Hughes, penned his disgust for the US media networks for ignoring 20% of their audience. Hughes wrote "This is nothing short of a national disgrace." In 2010 his network is joining the USA and turning its back on the Paralympics. Live coverage will apparently be absent in BOTH the UK and USA.

Just two weeks before the Paralympics and the US networks seem to be ignoring it. No announcement has been made one way or the other. But NBC and its sports network UniversalTV have no mention of the Paralympics on their scheduling. On 17 February the USOC confirmed by to me by email "Broadcast coverage for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games has not yet been announced. Please continue to check as it will be announced there as soon as information is available"

On 8 Feb Lewis Wiltshire, BBC sports editor wrote, in the comments section of his blog wrote: "we will be reporting the Winter Paralympics daily via news reports and this website using reporters and crews based in Vancouver and Whistler. There are provisional plans in place to stream the curling live through the BBC Sport website and BBC Red Button if the GB team make the medal rounds and we will also be broadcasting a one hour highlights programme on Monday 22 March on BBC TWO. We will not be broadcasting any other live coverage due to budget restrictions and the time zone factor. This decision was made several months ago." This is after BBC announced that 23% of the UK audience watched the closing 15 minutes of the 2008 Paralympics!

Fortunately, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has assured that everyone can enjoy live coverage of the Paralympics for free via the internet via Paralympic Sports TV, a station owned by the IPC. A schedule of live coverage can be found on the this article about the Paralympic Games.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Exciting Proposal: Let's Get Rid Of The Paralympics!

Charly Lester, has made an exciting proposal in an article on the The New York Times calling for Olympics and Paralympics to be held at the same time.

Lester notes that "the Paralympics has become the ignored step-brother of the Olympics." further he says that in the two week gap between the Olympics and the Paralympics " the majority of the world’s media disappears, the cheering crowds return home, and the host city returns to normal. "

What Lester does not note is that not only do the fans go home, but also most of the media goes home as well. The UK's BBC has already stated that they will not give live TV coverage to the 2010 Paralympics and it is looking like there will be no live TV coverage in the USA as well.

So, Lester declares "why not declare them all Olympians, and simply incorporate Paralympic disciplines into the Olympics?"

I think that THIS is the key sentence, though Lester does not come out and say it. GET RID OF THE PARALYMPICS ALTOGETHER. Let's just have one Olympics, with events for able-bodied and events for disabled athletes.

Blend it together, call them all Olympians. Maybe in time we will even find a way to have Olympians and Parlympians competing in some demonstration events, like a mixed Ice Sled Hockey game...but perhaps I am having a dream, where all people truly are equal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LFC: Levered Wheelchair Drive For Developing Countries

Amos Winter, an MIT engineer has come up with an inexpensive levered wheelchair drive for developing countries, which he calls the Leveraged Freedom Chair:

His inevention was recently featured on Discovery News. I always love any kind of development work that will bring technology to disabled people in developing nations. From what I understand it will be quite inexpensive. But a levered wheelchair drive is not a new idea. It seems essentially like an inexpensive version of other levered wheelchair drives, for example:



The Pivot


And there are others. I do hope that Winter is successful at bringing a low cost levered wheelchair drive system to developing countries. The Wijit, for example, costs $4,799 and The Pivot costs $3,999. Obviously such systoms are not going to be too popular in developing countries. However, another possibility might be to work together with a current manufacturer of levered wheelchair drives and see if they can combine their forces to bring an inexpensive version of these expensive drives to wheelchair users around the world. There are disabled people in developed countries who would appreciate access to levered drive technology, but can not come up with $4,000.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sled Hockey : An Exciting Adaptive Sport For Kids and Paralympians

Wheelchair users in Minnesota can join a Sled Hockey league thanks to a Mom who started a league so that her son could play the game that he loves. Geri-Anne Zubich started the Minnesota Sled Hockey Association with a group of 20 people and now the league is twice that size and plays against other teams in the area and regionally.

Called Sled Hockey in the USA and Sledge Hockey internationally, it is a sport growing in popularity. Sled Hockey has the same rules as Ice Hockey and looks a bit like Murderball or Wheelchair Rugby on blades. Sled Hockey is a fast paced and rapidly growing sport, which probably the reason that it is one of the most popular sports of the Winter Paralympic Games.

Watch this report about Geri-Anne Zubich and the league she started:

The Minnesota Sled Hockey Association has the equipment available for anyone who wants to try it out and they get some professional teams to participate.

Not sure about Sled Hockey? Be sure to watch the Paralympic Sled Hockey Games in the upcoming Winter Paralympics. Live broadcasts of Sled Hockey begin on 16 March 2010 with a match between USA and Japan and finish on 20 March 2010 with the Gold Medal match. You can follow the live action on Paralympic Sport TV and find the Paralympic broadcast schedule for all of the live action.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Overview of the 2010 Paralympic Games

Are you looking for information about the Paralympic games? You are not going to find too much as in many countries the coverage is sparce. According to Rick Hansen, the media could be doing more to raising the profile of the Paralympic games. This article gives an overview of the Paralympic Games together with a Schedule of Live Coverage of the major events of the Paralympic Games.

A brief summary: The 2010 Paralympic games will be in Vancouver and Whistler, from 12-21 March 2010. There are only 5 sports in the winter games. Alpine skiing, Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Wheelchair curling and Sledge hockey (called SLED HOCKEY in the USA). However, some of those events are actually broken into sub events. For example, Biathalon is actually 12 events, because it is divided into different events.

* There are standing, sitting and visually impaired participants, depending on type of disability.
* There are individual and pursuit events
* There are events for men and women.

Of the five events, sledge hockey may be the most popular. According to this discussion of the Paralympic Games, the gold medal ice sledge hockey game is already sold out! Why is the sledge hockey sport so popular?? Probably because it is fast paced and full contact. Sledge hockey is basically like ice hockey except the participants sit on a sledge.

The video below features various members of Team Canada explaining some of the details about Sledge Hockey.

You you will feel the excitement of this action packed game.

Monday, February 15, 2010

An Alternative Way To Making More Money? Spend Wisely

Many people with disabilities struggle to make ends meet. Jobs are scarce, benefits are getting less and less and disabilities make life even more expensive.

I recently read a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about stretching income and that is with the old fashioned WAIT! Before you yawn and click away, please read on, there is some very interesting logic here:

* The average coupon saves $1.44 (don't forget about the double and triple coupon days)
* Once you have the papers or websites assembled, finding and cutting a coupon takes about 1 minute each.
* Hourly rate from $1.44/minute= $86.40/hour
* These "savings" are not taxed.
* If you are in the 20% tax bracket, to bring home an equivalent amount of money you would need to earn $108. That is only from federal taxes.

Now maybe these figures are a little inflated but you get the idea. I guess I rarely think that savings like these are tax free and this really increases the value.

So, it is not a dollar saved is a dollar earned. It is a dollar saved is $1.20 earned.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Single On Valentines Day?

Many people with disabilities search a very long time for a relationship. Part of the reason is that the disability is a difficult thing for some disabled people to overcome. It can be difficult for anyone to find a great relationship and having a disability just makes it more challenging.

I have created a few articles which may offer some help to those who are single on Valentine's Day:

Valentine Day Ideas For Singles offers 10 ideas for how to spend valentines day, either spoiling yourself or taking stock of why you are single and how to find a relationship for NEXT valentines day. In addition, I have created an article which reviews the 10 best dating sites and how to pick the best dating site for you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man: Adapated Version

Most people know the famous drawing by Leonardo da Vinci showing a man in a circle. It is called Vitruvian Man. Vitruvian Man is a study of the proportions of the body. Vitruvian Man is actually a facinating work and the accompanying text was written in mirror writing, meaning you had to hold it to a mirror to read it.

Anyway, for the first time, I have seen an "adapted version" of the drawing, showing a man with amputations. While he is no longer proportional, he is a man none the less. I think it would be cool to show the drawing with prostetic limbs.

I found the adapted of Vitruvian Man on Co LeDahu's website

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentines Day Gift Ideas For Wheelchair Users

Are you a last minute shopper? Looking for a Valentines day gift idea for a friend or loved one who uses a wheelchair? Do you need a gift idea for a child who uses a wheelchair? Do you have a grandparent who is a wheelchair user? Here are suggestions of 10 gifts for wheelchair users.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spotlight On: Tyler Walker Paralympian

In the run up to the Parlympics Vancouver and Whistler , Canada between March 12 to March 21, 2010, this blog will spotlight a few selected athletes. The first spotlight is on Tyler Walker. Watch this video of the amazing Tyler Walker:

Tyler is a talented skiier and will be competing in his second Paralympics. But Tylers interests go far beyound skiing. Tyler is also interested in international culture and travel. Tyler has lived in Germany for a summer, has spent time living in Qatar and his skiing has taken him to many international destinations. Tyler is working against the odds and hopes to change the stigma against people with disabilities in that country. While it will not be easy, it seems like Tyler has no problem taking on huge challenges.

Tyler is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire in Geography with a dual major in International Studies. Why Geography? "It’s not just maps – it’s culture, language, people, history, how things change over time,” Tyler says. “You’re just learning about the world.”

You can read more about Tyler on his website

Tyler, if you read this, I wish you the best of luck in the Paralympics 2010.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Barack Obama: Isn't It Time to Let Rahm Emanuel Go?

This is not a political blog. In fact, this will be the first, and possibly the last blog post about a politican. But I am appaled that a prominant member of the Obama Administration, Rahm Emanuel blasted a republican plan as ""f------ retarded"

What I have read about Emanuel, I just don't like. The guy reminds me of every bully I have ever known. Using the word "retarded" is not only wrong and inappropriate, it is something a bully, a coward would do. A bully abuses his power to intimidate others. This is how Emanuel gets things done.

This is in stark contrast to Obama the gentleman. Obama always comes off as a nice guy, very polite, very courteous. Emanual is just the opposite. Very rude, very cruel, very arrogant. Someone who has a hard time controlling his thoughts and emotions.

I understand why Obama picked Emanuel to be his chief of staff. Emanuel guards the access to Obama. Having a bully screening those who want access is like having a tough bodyguard standing outside of your door.

I don't like the fact that Emanuel used the word retarded. A politician should have more common sense than that. I also don't like the way that someone in power would abuse his power. This is not a man to respect. This is a bully plain and simple.

Emanuel reminds me a lot of Dick Cheney, Bush's thug. I supported Obama, because I had enough of people like that in power. I supported Obama because I wanted a change. Emanuel is NOT a change. Emanuel is a return to ignorance and abuse of power.

If Obama cut Emanuel loose, it would send two strong messages:

First, Obama would send a clear message to the world that there is no place left for "Disablism", that is, discrimation against the disabled community.

Second, Obama would be saying that he wants to distance himself from the arrogant bullies of the world.

I believe that it is time for Obama to let Emanuel go.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Miracle League: A Dream Come True for Children With Disabilities

The Miracle League is a children's baseball organization. Perhaps something like the Little League, it is the center of the world for the kids that participate. But the Miracle League is a dream come true for many children with disabilities. Every kid, regardless of disability can be a winner in the Miracle League. Watch this Today Show feature on the Miracle League to understand more about the Miracle League. Then read the interview with Diane Alford, the Executive Director of the Miracle League below.

Gene Emmer: Can you tell me a bit about the Miracle League?

Diane Alford: The Miracle League has put an aggressive plan for construction of special Miracle Baseball Leagues and specially built rubber sports surface fields around the globe. The goal is to build as many Miracle League complexes as possible in order to serve children with special needs. Presently the Miracle League has 235 plus Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico , serving 185,000 children and young adults.

GE: I saw this on the website:
* Every player bats once each inning
* All players are safe on the bases
* Every player scores a run before the inning is over (last one up gets a home run)
* Community children and volunteers serve as ‘buddies’ to assist the players
* Each team and each player wins every game

This is different than any other baseball game I have seen. How does a game work? Are there any other rules? Are there age limits to the players?

DA: Our games are two inning ball games, lasting approximatley 1 1/2 hours, therefore each players gets to bat each inning. Take the bases and score for their team.
But its more than just the game, its about making new friends, building self esteem and just having FUN!

GE: I understand the Miracle League started about 10 years ago and now you have around 200 organizations and your goal is 500 organizations serving 1.3 million children. That is amazing!

DA: There are over 10 million children and young adults in the US with disabilities, we have a great task before us but are truly up for it.... Every community should have a Miracle League.

GE What is behind the rapid growth rate?

DA: The lack of and in most cases no programs at all for individuals with disabilities.
We were blessed this past fall season to have over 180,000 children and young adults participating in the Miracle League Programs.

GE: How do you usually get new organizations? Does someone in the league go out and find someone to start them? Or do you wait for someone to contact you?

DA: Our original plan was to visit different communities and get them involved, however we have been blessed everyday we received over 400 emails and phone calls wanting to get involved with the Miracle League and bring Miracle League baseball to their communities.

GE: Do you have Miracle League organizations in all of the US states? Do you have any miracle leagues outside of the USA?

DA: We are in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada

GE: Are there any locations you would really like to see come on board?

DA: We are looking at Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

GE: What is your role in the Miracle League?

DA: The Miracle League is a membership organization through our member the National Miracle League office is committed to helping each community in bringing a Miracle League to their community. We consult in building, the organization, the league and the special rubberized field.

GE: What kind of support or interactions do you provide with the local organization?

DA: We actually visit the communities, work with the local Miracle Leagues, we supply our member a Miracle League Manual and the actually architectural drawings, we help with fundraisers attend Grand Opening Days.

GE. Is there anything I didn't ask that you would like to add?

DA: The Miracle League will enrich the lives of children with disabilities as well as their families and their communities. It demonstrates to children with disabilities that they are not limited by their disability but can take the advantage of such an opportunity to play America ’s favorite pass time baseball, just like their brothers, sisters and friends. When a kid crosses home plate it gives their parents such joy to see their child play baseball just like all other boys and girls. The community achieves much when it works together to produce such an outstanding project as a Miracle League and a Miracle League Field.