US Paralympians Sue for Equal Treatment

Complain about disparities with able-bodied Olympians
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2008 4:07 PM CDT
United State's Paralympics team attend the opening ceremony for the Beijing Paralympic Games held in Beijing, China, Saturday, Sep. 6, 2008.    (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – When the Paralympics opened today in Beijing, American Tony Iniguez proudly wore his uniform—but he’s also suing the US Olympic Program that provided it. Iniguez, like many of his teammates, believes paralympians deserve the same benefits as their able-bodied counterparts. His suit, filed with two retired wheelchair racers, is headed for the Supreme Court after a frustrated lower court judge ruled for USOP, the New York Times reports.

The program currently provides healthcare to only some paralympians, forcing many to get full-time jobs. “I’m going to do my best over there, believe me,” says Iniguez, “but I can’t help but wonder what I could do if I’d been able to fully train.” USOP says Paralympians don’t generate enough revenue, but the program may be changing its ways: Paralympic spending swelled from $3 million in 2004 to $11.4 million this year.