[LETTERS to the editor]Paralympics: more than token praise

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[LETTERS to the editor]Paralympics: more than token praise

August of 2008 was truly a global feast. The People’s Republic of China has contributed so much to this once-every-four-years event. The government invested heavily in new facilities and transportation systems for foreign visitors and mobilized a record number of volunteers. Despite international criticism of China’s pollution and the threat of terrorism, the Beijing Olympics saw 43 new world records, without the feared mishaps. Surely, people around the world enjoyed the Games and shared the sentiment embodied in this year’s Olympic slogan, “One World, One Dream.”

The Beijing Olympics had 4.7 billion viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research; in fact it had the largest audience worldwide in Olympic history. Korea’s main broadcasting stations also went through busy weeks throughout the Beijing Games. Eager to capture great TV audiences they adjusted their programming and companies started to grab famous athletes for their commercials.

Of course, these players deserved to get attention from the global community for their extraordinary efforts and sporting talent. Likewise, the world should also train the spotlight on the 2008 Summer Paralympics that is currently being held in the same venue as the Beijing Olympics.

Indeed there were some press reports on Paralympics participants, but the coverage is meager compared to that of the Beijing Olympics. It is even difficult to see real-time broadcasting of the games in Korea’s main broadcasting stations.

Due to the lukewarm treatment of the Paralympics, some people are not even aware that such a global sporting event exists.

The number of nations participating in this summer’s Paralympics are the largest in history. The participants’ efforts deserve to be highly regarded and admired for having overcome their physical and psychological obstacles.

Thus, we should give warm praise for their extraordinary sporting achievements.

Kang Jae-yeon,

Sookmyung Girls’ High School, Seoul

*e-mail to eopinion@joongang.co.kr or via fax to 82-2-751-9219
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