Moving on to the Paralympics

Did you know that Canada’s elite athletes are going back to Beijing? Only this time they’re crippled!

Every two years, people pretend to have been interested in Olympic sports all along. Our amnesia kicks back in immediately after the closing ceremonies, leaving the Paralympics adrift in a sea of indifference.

(It could be worse: In Atlanta, the Olympics ripped out all the phones and every shred of infrastructure, leaving the Paralympics to bring trashed stadiums into a condition worthy of elite competition with no leadtime and a fraction of the “real” event’s budget.)

But Canada’s public broadcaster actually is covering the Paralympics – starting next Saturday.

TV promo for Paralympics

They won’t be doing it in prime time (other than that day) or in any other way that inconveniences anyone or even causes anyone to notice the existence of the event, but there will be coverage of a sort.

Surely the Web is a perfect environment for just causes that nobody cares about? Let’s do a quick check.

What happens when you visit CBC.CA/paralympic? 404.

How about /paralympics? Now we’re in business! Thrill with us as we relive the triumph, the tragedy, the prostheses, the murderball quad rugby sledge hockey of Torino 2006: The Paralympic Winter Games.

Screenshot: Torino 2006 Paralympics

(The Winter Paralympics are to the Paralympics as the Paralympics are to the Olympics.)

Is /beijing2008 any better? (The Paralympics are still happening in Beijing and it’s still 2008.) Nope: 404. /olympic? Redirects to /olympics – still to this day a glorious celebration of the real Olympics, despite the fact they ended two weeks ago.

Screenshot: CBC Sports Beijing Olympics page

Have I been looking in the wrong place? What about CBCSports.CA? Well, that just redirects to www.CBC.CA/sports, and while there’s a huge banner about the Olympics, all I see are a couple of articles below the fold about the cripple version (edited screenshot):

Screenshot: CBC Sports

Beijing Olympic organizers showed typical Chinese insensitivity to the defectives who dare to show up and watch their Games. (Your missing limbs are counterrevolutionary.) But what about the official Beijing (Olympics) site, Beijing2008.CN? The site doesn’t quite understand that I want English, not Chinese (among its many technical flaws), but sure enough, all it tries to tell me about are the Paralympics. Because the Olympics are over.

If the revitalization of Radio 2 has taught us anything, it is that the CBC refuses to live in the past anymore. Except when it comes to disabled sport.

Is this what happens when you disband an entire show about disability issues? When the biggest disability-related event of the year comes up, we can’t even set up a Web site about it?