At the time of writing there are still a few days left of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, so we thought we’d put together a little comic in celebration.
We’re based in Aylesbury in the UK, which is the closest town to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where Sir Ludwig Guttmann carried out his ground-breaking work on the rehabilitation of spinal injury patients, leading directly to the creation of the Paralympic Games. At the launch of the London Paralympic Games, Aylesbury put on the ‘Flame Festival’ – a superb show of pyrotechnics and projections as the Paralympic torch relay made its first stop after leaving Stoke Mandeville. It was a great start to the games.
People with varying disabilities are quite a regular appearance in the world of sci-fi, both as characters and as actors. We’ve chosen three iconic characters here – Professor Charles Xavier, Davros and Captain Christopher Pike – in part because we needed three similarly disabled people to fill our paralympic podium. With all of them being in wheelchairs they made for an obvious selection, although I don’t know what kind of sport would ever see these three competing against each other! Just in case you don’t get the reference, the medal thief is supposed to be Magneto – although it’s very hard to draw a Grey-based version of him without it just looking like a Mexican wrestler.
It’s wonderful to see the huge amount of support that the London Paralympic Games have received, and how popular they’ve been with spectators. It’s a shame that it’s still a separate event: although logistics might mean that the Olympics and Paralympics aren’t likely to run concurrently, it would be great to have the Paralympics take place immediately after the Olympics, such that they run together into one longer event (and with only one opening and one closing ceremony, it might actually save some money!). With Oscar Pistorius‘s appearance in both games, important questions are starting to be asked about what exactly constitutes “disabled”. It’s telling that the main concern about letting him compete was that his disability, and in particular his prostheses, might actually provide him with an unfair advantage!
So if you haven’t watched any of the Paralympics, I urge you to do so. If you’re reading this after the close of the 2012 games… well there will be another set coming round in less than four years, so try to catch them then. There are some incredible world-class athletes to watch, with all the triumphs and disappointments of the regular games. Don’t let the “para” put you off – it’s every bit as exciting as the Olympics.
Professor X: Not now Erik, please... not now!