At the risk of being branded a contrarian, I've got to raise the BS flag on Charles Robinson's Yahoo! Sports blog, Team Canada Ruins McKeever's Dream.
For every egoic force, there is a counter-force called karma. This is what the Canadian cross-country skier Brian McKeever is going through right now.
McKeever, who is legally blind, was bumped from today's 50 kilometer marathon, in favor of faster skiers.
This may sound like an odd situation, but here's how it went down.
Canada is a country not normally strong in cross-country skiing so when it came to fielding their team of four, the coach substituted in skiers that finished well in previous races to up their chances of winning a medal in the marathon. That's how McKeever got bumped — they are faster than him. Why they didn't think of this before is unclear.
But hold on, over the course of the Vancouver games, Team Canada has posted now six top 10 finishes in cross-country events. The uncontroversial decision to stack the race was made by new coach Inge Braten, who selected the best four skiers on the squad.
This decision bumped McKeever from the race.
Here's the karma part. McKeever is legally blind. He has just 10 percent of his vision left due to a hereditary condition called Stargardt disease. That 10 percent is all peripheral vision.
I wouldn't wish this condition on anyone as it's an awful fate. But for cross-country skiing, if you have peripheral vision, that's enough. The fact that McKeever can race just fine without a guide is proof of that. So his impairment has no impact on his ability to ski, right?
Meanwhile, McKeever cleaned up in medals at both the 2002 and 2006 Paralympic Games. The fairness issue is in a guy who can compete unaided at the Olympic level probably shouldn't be allowed to compete at the Paralympics because his disability doesn't impact his performance.
In an almost mechanical way, what goes around inevitably comes back around. For everyone, even people with disabilities. The ego's need to feel special veritably dictates that this will be the case.
I can only imagine some of the Paraolympians McKeever displaced as a result of his success there grumbling to themselves what cannot be said, given the feel-good nature of his story: "McKeever is getting what he deserves."
The law of karma grants us all the dignity of equal treatment, just as McKeever's coach did for him in making this the most obvious of game-time decisions.
Photo credit: rtve.es
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