Cyborg and supercrip: the paralympics technology and the (dis)empowerment of disabled athletes

2014-09-26T11:16:00Z (GMT) by David Howe
Over the last two decades the Paralympic Games have gained a high public profile. As a result there has been an ever increasing commercial marketplace for aerodynamic and feather light racing (wheel)chairs as well as biomechanically and ergonomically responsive prostheses that have helped create a legion of cyborg bodies that is manifest in the image of the sporting supercrip. Mobility devices that enhance performance have also created a divide between different impairment groups and also amongst ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nations. This article highlights the development of a technocentric ideology within the Paralympic Movement that has led to the cyborgification of some Paralympic bodies. It questions whether the advances in technology are actually empowering disabled athletes.