Blind and deaf paralympic swimmer withdraws from Olympics when told she cannot bring personal care assistant

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American Paralympic swimmer Becca Meyers, who is blind and deaf announced that she is withdrawing from competition ahead of the Tokyo Games after being told she would not be allowed to bring her mother, who also serves as her personal care assistant, along with her.

Meyers won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and could win gold in up to four categories at the games in Tokyo. The 26-year-old swimmer said that she also quit in part to raise awareness of the conditions some Paralympians face in Japan. She told the Washington Post:

“I would love to go to Tokyo. Swimming has given me my identity as a person. I’ve always been Becca the swimmer girl. I haven’t taken this lightly. This has been very difficult for me, but I need to say something to effect change because this can’t go on any longer.”

Meyers suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Usher Syndrome, which left her deaf at birth and has slowly degraded her eyesight. She is not totally blind and is rated a “Class S12” for the Olympics. 

According to Olympic rules, S11s are totally blind, while S12s have a small amount of sight. Meyers is the only one of Team USA’s 34 Paralympic swimmers who is both blind and deaf.

Her father was told via email that Japanese officials would not allow an assistant to enter the country with Meyers.

The reason given was due to the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

For the Tokyo games, rules state that only members of the Olympic delegations may enter the country for the games. Meyer’s father, Mark Meyers, was told that there would be absolutely “no exceptions” to the rules.

Meyers claimed that the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) could have accredited Becca’s mother as an official delegation member, but chose not to. The USOPC reportedly confirmed to the Post that Becca’s mother would not be permitted to accompany Becca to Tokyo as a delegation member.

However, the committee noted that it had assigned one personal assistant to help take care of all 34 members of the Paralympic swim team. Becca was less than enthused when she heard that. She said:

“This is the Paralympics. We should be celebrating everyone’s disabilities. We’ve broken barriers in society, defying all odds and yet this is how we’re treated? Like a burden on the team?” 

When announcing her decision to no longer join Team USA, Meyers wrote on Twitter:

“I’ve had to make the gut-wrenching decision to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. I’m angry, I’m disappointed, but most of all, I’m sad not to be representing my country. The USOPC has denied a reasonable and essential accommodation for me as a deaf-blind athlete, to be able to compete in Tokyo.”

Meyers said that her mother has been approved by USOPC to be her personal assistant at every international competition since 2017.

In their statement to the Post, USOPC clarified their position, stating that these restrictions affect more than just the Meyers family. The organization said:

“We are dealing with unprecedented restrictions around what is possible on the ground in Tokyo. We are heartbroken for athletes needing to make agonizing decisions about whether to compete if they are unable to have their typical support resources at a major international competition.”

At the end of her Twitter announcement, Meyers wrote:

“Why as a disabled person am I still fighting for my rights? I’m speaking up for future generations of Paralympic athletes in hope that they never have to experience the pain I’ve been through. Enough is enough.”

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International Olympic Committee bans kneeling and political displays, including “Black Lives Matter”, during Olympics

May 6th, 2021

TOKYO, JP – The International Olympic Committee sent a strong message for athletes that may consider any form of political displays during the Tokyo Games, to include any sort of displays related to Black Lives Matter.

Apparently, the IOC has banned all forms of political expressions or displays by athletes while participating in the Olympics.

Following a survey of a majority of the competitors for the upcoming Olympics in favor of such, the IOC notes that a ban will remain in place pertaining to competitors attempting to show displays of solidarity with protests or engaging in any sort of political messaging.

What this means is athletes that want to raise a fist while on the podium, taking a knee or any of the sort could face punishment during the Tokyo Games this year.

This study that was conducted reportedly surveyed over 3,500 athletes, which 70% of those athletes said it was “not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views,” during any opening or closing ceremonies or on the field of play.

In the event that an athlete breaches this mandate pertaining to the Tokyo games, the IOC said that the offending athlete’s National Olympic Committee, International Federation and the IOC will review the infarction and will determine what disciplinary action is warranted.

Reportedly, the IOC is slated to offer clarification on what types of disciplinary action could be taken against athletes prior to the July 23rd opening up the Tokyo Games.

Apparently, the World Players Association and Athleten Deutschland have come forward saying that they will support any athletes that make any sort of political or social justice protest during the Tokyo Games – pushing back on the Olympics long-standing ban against political displays.

Specifically, the IOC is merely reaffirming what’s known as Rule 50, which prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda.”

Rule of 50 applied to metal podiums, opening and closing ceremonies, play field, and other various Olympic venues.

Examples of what would constitute any sort of protest that would infringe upon Rule 50 would include displaying any type of political messaging – even on a sign or an armband, engaging in political gestures like raising a fist or kneeling, and also refusing to adhere to ceremonial protocols during the games.

Olympic officials noted in a statement regarding the upholding of Rule 50 that this measure was employed so that way no divisive topics wind up muddling the Olympic experience for prospective viewers:

“In conclusion, these guidelines have been developed with the aim that each and every one of you can enjoy the experience of the Olympic Games without any divisive disruption.”

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In other news pertaining to political displays of sorts, we at Law Enforcement Today recently reported on a “Back the Blue” rally that was postponed in Ohio. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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In a recent Facebook post, U.S. Rep Majorie Greene shared the truth about why the “Back the Blue Rally ‘that was supposed to take place on May 1st in Columbus, Ohio, has instead been postponed.

According to her post, with less than 48 hours before the planned event, that the organizers paid and received a permit for, Ohio State Patrol called to inform them that a large counter “protest” by Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa was also being planned and there would be no security fencing provided for the permitted and paid for rally. Greene wrote:

“At all their events they have had at the Columbus Capitol in the past, there has been security fencing provided and a counter protest area provided so that everyone’s first amendment rights were met and so that everyone’s security needs were met.

However, within less than 48 hours before the event, this time all past security measures were thrown out the window.”

Greene continued:

“Why? The organizers were told that legal counsel for Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board and legal counsel for Ohio State Patrol had met and decided there would be no security fencing allowed to separate the Pro-Police rally attendees and the organized domestic terrorist BLM/Antifa forces after having a conversation with BLM, who told them they would be there, that BLMS’s first amendment rights cannot be denied.”

She added:

“Why? My security director, who called to organize security for me as a promoted speaker for this event, was also told by the liaison for the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board that they would not provide security for me.

When he asked if there were any off-duty officers we could hire for security, he was told no.”

According to reports, Greene and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel were among some of the confirmed speakers for the event. The “Back the Blue Freedom Rally!” was organized by Ohio Gun Owners. Chris Door, executive director of the group, said in a statement:

“I think it’s high time that we let the law enforcement community know that they regular, law-abiding community has their backs, we definitely support them. We didn’t want them to be forgotten, so it’s a good time to throw a rally in support of them.”

He added:

“We want people most of all to come away with hope. So many people are prone to try and make law-abiding, peaceful, normal citizens feel guilty in some way.

We want them to know that they’re not forgotten, that law enforcement officers are not forgotten, that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that there’s nothing to back down from or apologize for, that we’re free Americans and we still live in the greatest country on earth.”

In her post, Greene pushed on about there not being any security or security fencing for this rally. She wanted to know why would people purposely put the lives of innocent people in danger. She wrote:

“Why would attorneys demand that radical violent BLM/Antifa be allowed in a Pro-Police rally after they have burned cities, looted businesses, attacked and killed innocent people like former police Captain David Dorn, attacked police officers night after night and day after day, taken over police precincts, attacked federal property and monuments, and wreaked terror and destruction for the past year on cities all across America?”

She continued:

“Is it really about BLM’s first amendment rights? This sounds like these attorneys were demanding the perfect scenario for BLM/Antifa to come in and provoke violence and attach innocent Pro-Police rally attendees and police officers so that they would be forced to defend themselves.”

Greene added:

“This sounds like these attorneys were demanding the perfect scenario for the left and the media to be able to lie and blame any violence on Pro-Police people and police officers, when it reality these attorneys were the ones who demanded there be no security fencing in the first place, putting innocent lives in danger by the radicals planning to attack.”

According to reports, on Thursday, April 29th, Dorr posted a Facebook video declaring that the event has been postponed, citing concerns about counterprotests. Dorr said:

“We have to let Antifa and Black Lives Matter and some of these violent protesters into our event and they have equal right to stand there and say what they want to and antagonize our members and our supporters, all the people there to back the blue. Our legal counsel says yes.”

Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) spokesman Mike Rupert said that the board did not deny Ohio Gun Owners’ permit or cancel the event. He said:

“The Ohio Gun Owners reached the decision to postpone their event and any question regarding that decision should be directed to them.”

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