(ATR) Paralympic Games organizers have had to reschedule some key events due to bad weather in PyeongChang during the first weekend of competition.
Alpine events postponed by bad weather (ATR)
The men’s and women’s giant slalom events have been moved as the men’s race was planned for Saturday, while the women’s event was set to take place on Sunday. Both now will be run this Wednesday, March 14 as the organizers had to make another change: The men’s slalom race, also originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed for a date yet to be announced.
Meanwhile there is a lingering question in some circles about whether organizers of these Paralympic Games are sensitive enough to stage such an event. In the first edition of its volunteer handbook, published in January, organizers felt it necessary to remind volunteers, known as the Passion Crew, that "a female disabled is also a female human being".
The International Paralympic Committee has already requested a clarification of that wording.
Snowboard winner Bibian Mentel-Spee (IPC)
A female has made the headlines for becoming one of the most compelling stories of these Games. Her name is Bibian Mentel-Spee from the Netherlands and on Sunday she retained her Olympic snowboard cross title only weeks after finishing treatment for cancer. Her battle against the disease prevented her from competing for much of the past year.
Having been diagnosed in July 2017 with cancer in her neck, esophagus and ribs, Mentel-Spee had expected her treatment to be over by October. However, in December she was informed by doctors that the tumor in her neck required further urgent surgery. That only gave her a few weeks to prepare for these Games.
The 45-year-old Mentel-Spee, whose final operation was in January, was victorious in an all-Dutch final in Pyeongchang, beating her teammate Lisa Bunschoten for the gold medal to be added to the one she won in Sochi 2014.
Also in snowboard, the men’s SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 finals, won by the USA’s Mike Schultz and Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari respectively, had a common denominator: both competitors had their legs amputated due to accidents in action sports.
In Suur-Hamari’s case, the two-time world champion admits he could not imagine being a Paralympic champion after losing his left leg in a motorcycle accident nine years ago.
"Never ever. This is pretty rad, when I was laying in the hospital bed I never could imagine that I would hold a Paralympic gold medal in 2018. This is awesome,” said the Finnish champion.
Paralympic curling (Thomas Lovelock for OIS IOC)
Mike Schultz also lost his left leg 10 years ago in a snowmobile accident. Schultz showed vast improvement over the last year, and the overall World Cup winner added the Paralympic gold to his resume.
Schultz topped a strong US performance on Monday, as the Americans won six of the 15 medals available.
Away from the slopes, one of the most vocal audience members of these Paralympic Games in PyeongChang is Mr. T.
The veteran actor has posted several tweets encouraging the public to watch on television as much of the event as possible. In one of his latest tweets, Mr. T claims “I said it before and I'll say it again.. curling is cool fool! But wheelchairs curling, more cooler”.
Written by Javier Monne
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