Meaning of Inclusion throughout the History of the Paralympic Games and Movement

By Gregor Wolbring, David Legg and Frank Stahnisch.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sport, both elite and recreational, is seen as important for the quality of lives, self-esteem, independence and social integration of people with disabilities. At the same time, many people with disabilities feel that there is not enough opportunity, recognition and support to participate in sport. Inclusion in society is a main goal of people with disabilities and various efforts have been made in this regard specifically in mainstreaming people with disabilities into recreational sport and physical education in schools. What, however, is the inclusion reality and vision within high profile, high performance sport? What is the inclusion discourse and inclusion vision within the Paralympic movement and Games especially as it pertains to the relationship between the Paralympic and Olympic Games? What might the future hold for the relationship between the Olympic and Paralympic Games? What might the inclusion discourse look like in the future? To answer these questions this paper will address the inclusion discourse within the Paralympic Movement by investigating the historical vision of Sir Ludwig Guttmann (1899-1980), the founder of the Paralympic Movement and by tracking the inclusion discourse of the Paralympic Movement from its inception until today. This paper finally thematizes the issue of inclusion by looking at possible future scenarios of the Paralympic Games and its relationship to the Olympic Games keeping in mind advances in the next generations of therapeutic assistive devices that will inevitably narrow the performance gap between Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Keywords: Disabled People, People with Disabilities, Paralympics, Olympics, Pistorius, Doping, Guttmann, New Technologies, Ableism, History, Sport Ethics, Cyborg Athlete

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.81-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 628.685KB).

Dr. Gregor Wolbring

Assistant Professor, Community Health Science Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I am working on the governance of new, emerging and envisioned sciences and technologies especially nanoscale science and technology with two lenses: One being the impact on people with disabilities especially in low income countries; the other being societal impact in general. I cover among others the areas of health, sports and human security. I am particular interested in the impact of bodily enhancement technologies having published on their impact on Sports, the very meaning of health and the practice of medicine. I have various appointments. Besides the University of Calgary appointment I am a part-time Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada; Founding Member and Distinguished Scholar, Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University, USA and an Adjunct Faculty Critical Disability Studies at York University, Canada.

Dr. David Legg

Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I am an Instructor in the Bachelor of Applied Business and Entrepreneurship - Sport and Recreation program at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. In 2004, I was a visiting Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and at Deakin University in Melbourne in 2008-09. I am the Vice President for the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Director for Sport Alberta and Chairperson of the Alberta Youth Olympic Symposium.

Dr. Frank Stahnisch

Associate Professor AMF/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine & Health Care, Department of Community Health Sciences & Department of History, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

My historical research draws specifically on the problem of interdisciplinarity in the neuromorphological sciences between 1910 and 1945, with a special regard to émigrés German-speaking neurologists. As such I am also interested in the ‘father’ of the Paralympics Ludwig Guttmann, who was an emigration-dependent professional. He changed from a trained neurosurgeon to a neurological clinician and a rehabilitation specialist, eventually becoming the known Paralympics Sport protagonist in his latter career.