The ongoing Beijing Paralympics may well set a new international standard for conduct of the Summer Paralympic Games, said Kirk Bauer, executive director of Disabled Sports USA, here on Sunday.
Bauer, member of the six-member US president delegation attending the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, has devoted 38 years of service to Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA) -- the first 12 years as a volunteer, and the last 26 as its executive director. He has taken a small, all volunteer organization, making it the nation`s largest sports and recreation organization for physically disabled individuals with more than 80 chapters nationwide, DS/USA serves 60,000 people annually.
"Overall, I believe that on reflection, the Beijing Paralympics will be viewed as one of the best in the history of the Summer Paralympic Games. It may well set a new international standard for conduct of the Summer Paralympic Games and the Chinese people should be pound of that," added 60-year-old Bauer.
"The Beijing Paralympics left the deepest impression both because of the magnificent opening ceremonies production and the quality of the venues and conduct of the sports events that I was able to witness," said Bauer. "All of the sports venues and facilities I visited were accessible to wheelchair users and others with disabilities. The sports events were very professionally run with events starting on time;timing equipment and scoreboards fully visible and state-of-the-art;official announcements in both English and Mandarin with much information given about the competitors, world records and other history of that sport.
"I was also very impressed with the attention that the media gave to the Beijing Paralympics. It was much more prominent than coverage here in the USA," Bauer said, citing the front page of China Daily carried a photo of the USA vs Israel wheelchair basketball game during his stay in Beijing.
He was also impressed by the signage, saying that he saw banners on the sides of the roads from the airport into town, banners on the sides of buildings, and flags everywhere.
He said: "I have never seen better promotion of the Paralympics than Beijing."
Bauer also pointed out that what was most impressive about his visit to Beijing by far was the magnificent opening ceremony to the Paralympic Games. "It was great, superb ceremony which I`ve never seen before."
Bauer, who lost his left leg above the knee during combat in Vietnam in 1969, have attended four Paralympic Games including the 1996 Summer Paralympic Games in Atlanta;the 2002 Winter Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City;the 2006 Winter Paralympic Games in Torino;and the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing.