LONDON – The 2012 Summer Paralympic Games, originally scheduled to commence on August 29th, were abruptly cancelled Thursday morning as a result of a poorly placed staircase that would impede wheelchair-bound athletes from entering the Olympic Stadium.
“It is with tremendous sadness and utter humiliation that I must announce the cancellation of these 14th Paralympic Games,” stated International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven. “We thought we’d worked out all the bugs in regards to accommodating the athletes, but it seems we forgot about one single staircase that will unfortunately prevent most of the competitors from arriving at the venue.”
Accessibility has always proven to be a difficult issue at the Paralympics, but this marks the first instance where it’s led to the Games being cancelled. The problematic staircase is located just off Marshgate Lane, where nearly all forms of transportation must exit to make their way to Olympic Stadium.
Though organizers admit that a wheelchair lift could be outfitted alongside the stairs, considering the vast number of competitors that would be utilizing it, it would take hours and hours for a single event’s participants to be safely transported to the stadium. Logistically speaking, this time expenditure would make it nearly impossible for all the events to adhere to a set schedule.
“It’s just quite a shame, isn’t it?” said South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius. “That’s rough for the wheelies and all, being unable to get into the venue, but it just stinks that the rest of us athletes are missing out, as well.”
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) understands the frustrations of non-wheelchair athletes, but they still believe they made the right decision in cancelling the Games in their entirety.
“It really is a bloody shame, and we wish it’d been different, but what kind of show of international unity would it be if we said some people were allowed to compete while others just had to sit there?” posited LOCOG deputy chair Sir Keith Mills. “Besides, we’re completely knackered as it is. If I can be honest with you, once the real Olympics finished, we all kind of checked out and hoped this thing would run itself.”
In accordance with Paralympic tradition, the athletes will now be placed in storage until the next Summer Paralympics, in 2016.