By Amy Moritz
While the Rio Olympics are winding down, the problems are just starting for the Rio Paralympics, scheduled to open Sept. 7.
Last week came news that severe budget constraints have delayed the organizing committee from dispersing travel grants, imperative for individual country delegations to send their athletes to Rio. Couple this with reports that only 12 percent of tickets have been sold and the finances look grim.
It comes at a time when the Paralympic movement has gained a foothold in the mainstream, including a live broadcast of the Summer Games in the U.S. for the first time.
Western New Yorkers have become familiar with Paralympic athletes through sledge hockey featured at the Winter Games. Local athletes have won gold medals and international competitions have been staged in Buffalo. And as more people see the competitions, they begin to understand that the Paralympics are more than just inspiring stories.
The Paralympic athletes make the same sacrifices as their counterparts. And they deserve to be treated at the same level as their compatriots who have already competed in Rio.