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Vancouver Sets New Standard for Disabled Access

Apr 14, 2009

Vancouver sets new standard for disabled access – by Jeff Lee, Canwest News Service ( "Three years ago, when spectators using wheelchairs tried to get to and from the cross-country venue at the Turin Winter Paralympics, they found themselves stranded by a gulf of mud. The lack of access irritated International Paralympic Committee president Sir Phil Craven, who was among the stranded. He ordered mats be put down over the mud and around Sestriere, the Italian mountain village that was playing host to some of the Paralympic events. The incident highlighted one of the failings that has often shadowed the Paralympics: a lack of progressive thought towards accommodating people with disabilities. Invariably, sporting venues at Paralympics are suitable. The washrooms and change rooms for players are adequate. The fields of play, the ski runs, the curling venues and the cross-country courses are modified and acceptable for competition. But the Paralympics, unlike the Olympics, are not just a grouping of sporting events where the best athletes come to compete. They also serve a parallel social agenda of raising awareness around the issues of accessibility, human rights and equal treatment for people with disabilities."

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