Paige Larson: On Sat Sep 13th in Beijing



It is cooler today – only 29 degrees! A light haze over the sky must be helping to filter out some of the direct sun rays. It may even rain later today, but the humidity is only at 30%, so hopefully not until the night.

Canada won multiple medals last night. At track we won 4 bronze and 1 gold. Chantel Petitclerc won the 400 (her second gold), with Diane Roy getting the bronze. Also scoping bronze were Kyle Pettey in shot, Ilana Duff in the 100, and Dean Bergeron in the 400 (adding to his previous gold).

Now, have you  noticed that there are multiple winners of the same distance? That is because there are different categories based on their disability. There are T11, T12 and T13 who are totally blind, partially and minimally (?) blind respectively. T11 have guides run with them, T12 is have guides if they want, and T13 do not use guides.

There are then the F33, 34, 35, 36, 52 and maybe a few more F’s. They are hemiplegic, cerebral palsy, head injury, and things like that. I am not sure which is which as there is quite a diversity in the groups and sometimes they put them together and use a handicap system rather like golf I think. The classifications are based on ability, so the variation is to be expected.

The T52, T53 and T54 are all wheelies. The T52 are quads, meaning that all four of their limbs are affected. They could be quadriplegic, or something like polio with all four limbs affected. The T54 are the low spinal cord injuries, paraplegics and such who all have use of their arms and their abdominals. T53 seems to be in between the other two classes. I have asked a number of people about classification, but not even the coaches seem to be totally sure on the finer points! Each athlete is evaluated individually by offical classifiers before they start entering meets. They have to be classified several times before the classification is set, and they can apply to be re-classified if they disagree with their classification (on a limited basis), or if their status changes….And so ends your lesson on classification in Paralympic athletics!

Last night was the Team Canada Family and Friends reception. I didn’t get to go as we had races at the track, but we got goodie bags from Petro Canada, the sponsor of the event! Thanks Petro Canada for the great souveniers!! There was a Beijing 2008 stamp carved out of stone, perhaps jade. There was a lovely fan, and also a gas card for discounted gas for quite some time!! The food and drink were apparently very nice after Village fare for two weeks.

Today Rick Mercer is in the Village, hanging around and talking to lots of us. I am going to head out and see what is going on – should be pretty funny!! Stay tuned here, and also watch Rick Mercer for his report, probably pretty soon as it is a timely issue!  Cheerio, Paige

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