(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) The Paralympics faced a possible scandal after several claims that athletes had faked the extent of their disabilities.
According to Breitbart, the International Paralympic Committee was demanding changes in the wake of the accusations.
Xavier Gonzalez, former chief of the IPC, presented evidence passed to him from former athletes, who shared stories of pervasive cheating.
The most ubiquitous issue was athletes exaggerating the seriousness of their disabilities in order to enter into events for which they otherwise would not qualify.
Gonzalez originally oversaw investigations into cheating. After stepping down from his leadership role in 2019, he now argues that a new team of investigators must replace him.
But the IPC has said it is resistant to a new investigative team, calling the extreme lengths to prevent cheating “unnecessary.”
Paralympic sports such as cycling, swimming and basketball has struggled in the past with rampant cheating.
The Spanish men’s basketball team in the 2000 games won gold, despite none of the players having physical or mental disabilities.
U.S. 12-time gold medalist Jessica Long, who had both legs amputated below the knee at the age of 2, spoke out about the cheating in a March 2020 interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I don’t want to seem like a poor sport, but I can’t watch this sport that I love continue to get destroyed like this,” Long said. “All of this is happening on a world stage, and no one in charge is doing anything about it.”
Several officials concluded that the “system does not work” to catch cheaters, and there were no repercussions in place when they were discovered.
“Trying to do things with classification to win an advantage is not a thing that the Paralympic movement can tolerate,” Gonzalez said.
In his time as head of the IPC, Gonzalez investigated almost 100 athletes who had allegedly faked or overstated their injuries in order to compete.
However, the investigations were fruitless because of the lack of concrete evidence gathered, he said.