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The Importance of Unity in Diversity: One World, Many Differences

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Words: 1523 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Apr 17, 2023

Words: 1523|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Apr 17, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Should Paralympics medalists be awarded the same prize money as their Olympics counterparts?
  2. Purpose of the Olympic/Paralympic Games
  3. Similar Financial Cost Incurred
  4. Lower competition intensity?
  5. Is Awarding the Same Reward an Impossible Dream?
  6. Conclusion

This essay discusses the topic of whether Paralympics medalists should receive the same prize money as their Olympics counterparts, and argues for unity in diversity by promoting equal compensation for both able-bodied and handicapped athletes. Therefore, unity in diversity essay should not only recognize the differences among individuals but also promote equal treatment and appreciation for everyone, regardless of their abilities. 

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Should Paralympics medalists be awarded the same prize money as their Olympics counterparts?

In the recent 2016 Rio Olympics, Singapore para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu broke the world record and won gold in the 100m backstroke event. Similarly, Singapore Olympic swimmer, Joseph Schooling, set a new Olympic record and won a gold medal in the 100m butterfly event. Despite both medalists having the same achievement, they are compensated differently. In Singapore, an Olympic medalist will receive S$ 1 million, S$500k, and S$250k for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal respectively. In contrast, a Paralympic medalist will only be rewarded S$200k, S$100k, and S$50k for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals respectively, 20% of what an Olympic medalist would receive. Looking at the current reward system, one would wonder if this is a fair treatment to the Paralympians. Unlike the current reward system, I feel that Paralympians should be awarded the same prize money, largely due to the similar effort, time, and cost spent on preparing for the competition, as well as to promote the purpose of such sports events.

Purpose of the Olympic/Paralympic Games

Firstly, we will need to know the purpose of holding the Olympic and Paralympic games. Both games hold the same spirit and the only difference between them is that the Paralympic game is for athletes with an impairment. As shown in the Olympic website “The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic Spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play”. Each years’ games have their purpose varied slightly and as for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020 Olympic, the purpose of holding the games is reflected in the game’s vision which strongly emphasized three concepts – Achieve Personal Best, Unity in Diversity, and Connecting to Tomorrow's.

Looking at the second concept, Unity in Diversity, the committee aims to sustain a welcoming environment and raise awareness of Unity in Diversity among the world. In order to achieve Unity in Diversity, we will need to understand that every participant is unique and look past the inherent differences. To truly embrace Unity in Diversity, we would first need to treat the handicapped and able-bodied participants equally. Since the games have been emphasizing on Unity in Diversity, this value should be further reflected in the rewards system. In other words, similar rewards should be given in order to portray equality and celebrate Unity in Diversity. Therefore, participating countries should provide both Paralympian and Olympian medallists with equal incentives to support the clause of embracing diversity, which is an important purpose of the games.

Similar Financial Cost Incurred

In addition, there are also similar financial costs incurred for both Paralympians and Olympians. Aside from renowned Olympic superstars like Michael Phelps, who earns a significant amount of money from endorsements, many Olympians are actually struggling to make ends meet. For example, US speed skater, Mitch Whitmore, relies on performance-based stipends to cover daily necessities such as rent and food. Similarly, Paralympians are also struggling financially. One example is a Paralympian, Oksana Masters, who is struggling with financials to keep up with the high cost incurred from training. He also had to source for alternative income in order to financially sustain himself. In some occasions, Paralympians might even incur a higher training cost. For example, Chuck Aoki, a two-time Paralympic medalist states adaptive sports equipment use by Paralympians is expensive. He notes that his competitive wheelchair costs $5,000 and the maintenance fees for the equipment is costly as well. This huge financial commitment acts as a barrier of entry for many Paralympians. Therefore, we can see that Paralympians have similar financial circumstances and yet are awarded a significantly lower incentive as compared to Olympians. This shows the unfair situation Paralympians are in, and therefore they should be given equal incentives as Olympians to fund their high training costs.

Lower competition intensity?

There are, however, many counterarguments which show that the reward given to Paralympians should be pro-rated compared to Olympians due to the lower competition intensity. The counterargument posed by Senior Parliament Teo Ser Luck was that para-events are more segmented due to being divided into multiple categories to accommodate different types of disability, thus resulting in more gold medals awarded. For example, in the Olympics, a single 100m backstroke event would only allow for 1 gold medalist whereas the same event in the Paralympic consists of 10 categories which amounts to 10 gold medals. This would result in less competition within each category. One example is how Yip Pin Xiu had direct entry into the final against only six competitors while Joseph Schooling had to battle 42 other swimmers in multiple elimination rounds in order to qualify for the finals. Therefore, proponents of such a view would argue that more segments and fewer competitors resulted in a lower competition intensity, which is why Paralympians should not be compensated the same as Olympians.

However, less competition does not mean a lower competition intensity. In fact, in the Paralympic Games 2016, four 1500m para-runners performed faster than the Rio Olympics gold medal-winning time. The example showed clearly that some Paralympians are able to put up an equivalent fight to the Olympians, and hence despite having fewer Paralympians competing in a single category, the competition intensity is not low. Paralympians are also training hard as hard to achieve their personal best. This completely throws off the assumption established above which states that the intensity is lower due to less competition.

Moreover, less competition does not imply a lower training intensity leading up to the competition. Those who are qualified for the Paralympics would have been training hard for the competition. It would not matter whether it is against 6 competitors or 42 competitors or whether there are more categories, hence due credit should be given to them. The level of effort and training put in by Paralympic medalists is no less than that of an Olympic medalist. For example, Yip Pin Xiu, a Paralympian, had been training 6 days a week with two sessions in each day to prepare for the Paralympic games, which is similar the training commitment of Joseph Schooling, an Olympian. Arguably, Paralympians might even need to put in more effort due to their handicap. Therefore, it is commendable that they are able to sustain a similar training intensity and push themselves to their limits despite their disadvantages. Therefore, Paralympians are training as hard as the Olympians, and this should not be discounted just because there are more segments for each event in the Paralympics. With similar effort put in to achieve the same Gold medal, is it fair for Paralympians to be rewarded less than the Olympians?

Is Awarding the Same Reward an Impossible Dream?

There are several countries that seem to understand the unfair treatment in terms of prize money and are trying to change things. Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has stated that Malaysia will increase their previous policy of only awarding 30% of the Olympic Gold reward to their Paralympians to 100%. He further added that:” I would not know how to feel 30% proud of them. I only feel 100% proud of our para heroes.” Similarly, the USA recently voted for the “Operation Goal” program which made the reward similar for both Paralympians and Olympians. “Paralympians are an integral part of our athlete community and we need to ensure we are appropriately rewarding their accomplishments”, said USOC chief executive Sarah Hirshland. She then added that she is thrilled to bring back parity and equality to the athletes. Such revolutionary changes to the reward system in various countries show that it is indeed possible for countries to treat their Paralympic medalists equally.

Moreover, there is an increasing number of countries that are recognizing the efforts made by Paralympians. Back in Singapore, Mr. Baey, Senior Parliamentary of MCCY in 2019 has agreed that MCCY will continue to support Team Singapore athletes, whether in able-bodied or disability sports. This shows that even though there is no concrete scheme to increase the Paralympian prize money yet, there is increasing recognition in disability sports. There is hope that Singapore will perhaps increase the prize money of Paralympians in the near future.

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Conclusion

Paralympians and Olympians face similar challenges in many aspects as stated above, whether in terms of financials or other sacrifices. It is heartening to see that some countries are starting to equally recognize the efforts made by Paralympians, and I strongly support more countries to do the same. Whether Paralympians or Olympians, both are honorable sportsmen who deserve the same amount of respect and value as they represent and fight for the glory of their home country. Therefore, their efforts spent should be equally recognized by having equal rewards.  

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

The Importance of Unity in Diversity: One World, Many Differences. (2023, April 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-importance-of-unity-in-diversity-one-world-many-differences/
“The Importance of Unity in Diversity: One World, Many Differences.” GradesFixer, 17 Apr. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-importance-of-unity-in-diversity-one-world-many-differences/
The Importance of Unity in Diversity: One World, Many Differences. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-importance-of-unity-in-diversity-one-world-many-differences/> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
The Importance of Unity in Diversity: One World, Many Differences [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Apr 17 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-importance-of-unity-in-diversity-one-world-many-differences/
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