Eight years ago we attended a day of the Sydney 2000 Paralympics. Our tickets allowed us to enter any of the sporting events and venues and we took advantage of this to see as much as we could. Australia topped the medal tally and, unlike during our attendance of the 2000 Olympics, we actually heard the Australian Anthem played (a number of times, as it was). We also saw the interior of the swimming facility with the seats stretching back to nosebleed levels.
But those were just bonuses on top of the sport itself. When watching the athletes we didn't see disabilities, only different ways of playing fantastic sport. Wheelchairs were just extensions of the body, missing limbs meaning just a different style of swimming stroke. It was great to watch and we had a wonderful day.
While checking up on the current Paralympic coverage on the ABC I discovered that cheating is a problem for the Paralympics as well and in some ways to make the able bodied squirm:
Some of the ways that Paralympic athletes "boost'' include sitting on pins, thumb tacks or ball bearings, turning off their catheters - allowing fluid to build up inside the body - while some male athletes who go so far as to tie wire around their genital area.Ouch!