Inspiration is a tricky word for para-athletes. Some blush at its utterance, while others bristle.
When the word applies to an outstanding athletic performance, be it Emily Young’s incredible triple medal performance, or Oksana Masters’ mastery of the sit-ski, they welcome it, just as any other athlete does. Young had a breakout performance this week at the Canmore Nordic Centre at the Para-Nordic Ski world cup races, which is a testament to her hard work and athletic prowess.
When it applies to a para-athlete’s ability to simply get out of bed in the morning, or jump on a chairlift, that’s when their eyes roll. The media tends to place those with disabilities in two categories: super hero or sob story. That leaves very little room for other narratives to emerge.
Para athletes are more than their disability. Brian McKeever’s continuous push to reach the Olympic games is part of a larger desire to treat para-athletes as equals to able body competitors. Even the term ‘para’ came from Canadians, as it suggests a parallel stream of athleticism, not a lesser group of athletes.
Para-athletes hear the word ‘inspiration’ so often, and they do understand why the label is so frequently applied. Many of them have incredible back stories, and have overcome adversity to reach the upper levels of their sport. Comparatively, athlete stories about poor kick wax or subpar race preparation seem trivial. But that is no reason to perpetrate a stereotype, and it’s high time to ask more probing questions about their sport.
It is a lesson many Bow Valley children picked up as para-alpine athletes Josh Dueck and Mike Shaw toured local schools. Dueck is well-known for his sit-ski backflip, and his message hit home. About 650 screaming students gladly cheered on athletes at the 2017 World Para-Nordic Skiing World Cup on Tuesday. Such events provide a platform for para-athletic performance, but also a better chance for the public to interact with these athletes.
The opportunity is now for the public to watch para-athletes this weekend at the Nordic Centre. It’s a great chance to break one’s own prejudice, and meet some of the top athletes in the world performing at their peak of excellence.
And you thought the paid parking debate was over …
While the no vote narrowly held the day in the October election, winning by the slim margin of 54-46, the fact nothing has changed when it comes to traffic and congestion issues in Banff means the idea of taxpayers continuing to foot the bill for alternatives such as transit will continue to be debated.
Like Banff town council, we can’t wait to see what happens when Liricon Capital puts down 650 to 900 parking spots at the Banff train station.
Should those spots be created, then prove to have no effect in curing traffic woes and congestion, we feel little alternative will remain but to institute some form of paid parking to remove the burden on Banff taxpayers who pay for visitors’ parking needs.
At some point, taxpayers simply cannot be expected to pay for services for tourists.