Sorry, this is fairly unrelated to this blog's central content. But I'm right ticked off, your Honour.
Only one sports report I saw this morning (that of 7's Sunrise) bothered to mention our Paralympic Games gold medal wins first up. It was, of course, rugby-AFL-motorsport first elsewhere.
Matthew Cowdrey, inspiring young swimmer with a congenital amputation, is a good medal chance in Beijing. At the Athens Paralympic Games, he won a phenomenal 3 gold medals, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes. Surely one of the most (if not THE most) decorated athlete in the pool behind Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe.
At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, he was the most successful of ALL our male swimmers (able-bodied or disabled) winning 2 gold medals, both in world record time. And yet we're going to hear about Stephanie Rice for the next 4 years. *sigh* Not that three gold medals is something to be sniffed at entirely. But why are able-bodied athletes always the first to come to mind when we reflect on sporting achievement? Why are they the first on the motivational speaking circuits, the cereal boxes, the underwear ads, the reality show 'guest judge' seats?
There was another young swimmer profiled last night, Sam Bramham, who made great efforts in the pool alongside Cowdrey. He is apparently the 'joker' of the team, the morale booster and one-man cheer squad. What a cheeky young thing. Yet when sports profile shows come around, it's quirky Libby Trickett and daggy-dancing Grant Hackett who get all the air time.
Last night's basketball match, in which Australia beat Brazil by one point(!) with a clinch goal in the last 5 seconds(!) was more exciting than anything I watched at the Olympics last month. It was a mammoth effort and Australia came from behind to make a specacular win. But I didn't hear about it in the news this morning.
It's not entirely fair, is it? The opening ceremony of the Paralympics got a half-page picture and short detail in the Herald Sun yesterday. The 'real Olympics' received multiple pages of coverage. Including a daily liftout. If our Paralympic team manages a better medal tally than our Olympic team, and with three gold medals on the first day alone, our chances look good, it will be a shame not to hear about it.
Just because the personal circumstances are a little different doesn't make them any less of an athlete or an inspiration.