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To Define Oneself as Less Able: A Prerequisite for a Paralympian?

Keith Lyons in his column gives a short history of disabled people including Paralympians that also participated in the Olympics all the way back to 1904. Very likely that was news to many given that Pistorius so dominated the coverage the last 4 years. He highlighted two disabled people that were competing in the 2012 Olympics, Oscar Pistorius who received a lot of media coverage and Natalia Partika a table tennis player. Both will also compete in the Paralympic Games in London. This begs the question: what allows one to be in the Olympics or the Paralympics?