GOOD

I Am Not Your Inspiration

The GOOD 2015 Special Olympics Preview

In 1993 Charles Barkley famously claimed that professional athletes weren’t role models. “Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids,” he argued. Of course, Barkley’s argument was hardly an empirical one: Basketball players are role models, have been role models, and will continue to be role models. His point was that there was something messed up about the way we glorify professional athletes.

The same can be said today of how we treat Special Olympics athletes who we may not treat as role models, but as inspirations. Their stories may uplift us, but their triumphs of will demand a more serious assessment and a better appreciation of their skills. Yes, these athletes have inspired us and will continue to inspire us, but that inspiration shouldn’t define them as who they are. The following preview of the 2015 World Games kicking off today in Los Angeles and running through August 2nd is driven by the assumption that the athletes competing in the 47th annual Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles be treated as athletes, rather than as lovable human-interest stories.


The individuals competing in the World Games stand little to gain by way of adulation, fame, or endorsement deals—and as such, they provide as unadulterated an example of the spirit of competition as it exists in 2015. We spoke with a small group of favorites as they trained for this year’s games and asked them about their practice regimens, the pressures weighing on their shoulders, and what it took for them to get to the top of their respective fields. Here are a few of the highlights.

Slideshows

A two-minute television ad from New Zealand is a gut punch to dog lovers who smoke cigarettes. "Quit for Your Pets" focuses on how second-hand smoke doesn't just affect other humans, but our pets as well.

According to Quitline New Zealand, "when you smoke around your pets, they're twice as likely to get cancer."

Keep Reading
Health
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading
Politics
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading
Communities