October 27, 2000
rising to new heights
Athletes with disabilities have been scooping up condoms at
a record pace during their games in Sydney
TORONTO -- One of the messages
of the Paralympic Games in Sydney is the need to get rid of
barriers. Athletes with disabilities want to be seen the way
Olympians are seen, as sport performers.
Medical staff at the athletes'
village report that Paralympians and Olympians are even on one
score -- their demand for condoms.
Wheelchairs and prostheses don't
pose any barrier at all, it seems, as young, athletes driven
by hormones have scooped up 50,000 condoms in the first eight
days in the village. That equals about seven condoms an athlete
or official staying at the Games village.
Condoms and lubricants in an
assortment of colours and flavours are dispensed from a giant
goldfish bowl in the medical centre. It is being refilled every
"I suspect 50,000 have been
used," village medical program manager Patsy Trethowan
told Agence France-Presse. She said a second batch of 20,000
condoms has been shipped in.
The Canadian Paralympic Committee
isn't sure how many of the condoms have been picked up by the
country's 162 athletes. The CPC doesn't specifically forbid
sexual activity in the Games agreement signed by athletes.
"It's consistent with the
sort of agreement Olympic athletes sign. It covers harassment
and discipline issues, but we don't get between consenting adults,"
said Rob Needham, CPC program co-ordinator. "If an adult
were involved with a minor, that would come under harassment
and be subject to discipline."
Kathy Power, the Canadian team's
media manager said from Sydney that "we try to keep a fairly
tight rein on athletes, at least until the competition is done.
But it's a fun atmosphere, with a lot of young people, and when
the pressure is off, they want to cut loose."
Sex is off limits to Canadian
swimmers. Needham said they all sign on to the same code of
conduct as the Olympic team, barring sexual activity, disruptive
behaviours and alcohol.
"The swim team is all quite
young, several of them under 18, but they swim every day, all
week long and they don't have time to think of that stuff anyway,"
Australian swimmers apparently
don't have that kind of restriction. Swimmer Alex Harris, after
winning silver in the 100-metre freestyle Wednesday, happily
told reporters: "I'm gonna get sex tonight".
Athletes are meeting at a steamy
nightclub inside the village , which has been jammed to capacity
with partying Paralympians who show that dirty dancing is possible
in wheelchairs. A lambada contest was won by a Kuwaiti pentathlete
who whipped off his shirt, did wheelchair handstands, grabbed
a female entertainer from a Brazilian dance company, kissed
her stomach and sat her on his lap.
Olympic athletes tended to leave
the village to explore the Harbour, but the Paralympians stay
in because the club is more accessible.
to Paralympic Index