This doesn’t quite convey the whole story, because Russia’s first place is by miles. They won 30 gold medals. The next highest, Germany, won only 9 golds, and on down from there. I don’t know much about the development of Paralympic sports, but the result does baffle me. Is it just because Russia could send more athletes tan anyone else, do the Russians devote more resources to Paralympic sports? It’s remarkable when you consider the fact that in 1980, when the Soviet Union hosted the Summer Olympics, they declined to host the Summer Paralympics as well. Was that a reflection of how Russians at that time viewed disabled people? Have disabled peoples’ status in Russian culture improved that much since?
And, for all our supposed leadership in disability matters, the US seems to have underperformed. Is this one of those instances where we just assume we’re ahead of the curve, only to find out that lots of other countries have quietly progressed further than us?
I will certainly be paying closer attention to the next Paralympics … the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
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