The 2016 Paralympics kicks off in Rio de Janeiro soon, but organizers still face obstacles needing confrontation like how the finances aren’t living up to expectations and the self-mutilation of the athletes.
Paralympic athletes are reportedly willing to hurt themselves for a medal. Self-mutilation procedures range from breaking bones to electric shocks. Go further and you’ll hear stories of twisted and crushed testicles.
They call it “boosting,” which basically results to increased blood pressure and “better” performance. It is banned by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC).
Boosting is reportedly popular among those with spinal injuries, who happen to have issues in cardiovascular function. Brad Zdanivsky, a Canadian quadriplegic climber, said in 2012 (via BBC):
“There have been times where I would specifically give my leg or my toe a couple of really good electric shocks. That would make my blood pressure jump up and I could do more weights and cycle harder — it is effective.”
Zdanivsky’s spine was injured after a car accident in 1994. He went on:
“I tried several different ways of doing it [boosting]. You can allow your bladder to fill, basically don’t go to the bathroom for a few hours and let that pain from your bladder do it… I took it a notch further by using an electrical stimulus on my leg, my toe and even my testicles.”
There are also charges claiming some Paralympians exaggerate their condition so they can compete in easier categories in what’s called intentional misrepresentation, according to AFP (via Asia One).
Paralympic swimmers, in particular, have been the subject of suspicion. Some are believed to swim slower during category classification, and only show their true abilities once competing.
Bethany Wood, a silver and bronze medalist in 2012’s Paralympics who suffers from cerebral palsy, is reportedly boycotting the Rio Paralympics. She is convinced that less disabled athletes were being allowed to compete in her category.
Bringing 4,300 athletes from 161 nations, the 2016 Paralympics runs from September 7 to September 18, 2016.