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Olympic Handbook causes offence

 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics logo
Pyeongchang Winter Olympics logo Image credit:

A volunteer’s handbook for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games is going back to the printers after a number of entries implied offensive to disabled people.

The information given in the manual was written in the best intention advising workers how to handle different scenarios and not come across patronising – but the wording completely defies the objective.

To start with one of the opening sentences reads: "The disabled is not the background for the promotion of [a] politician, patron or company."

Then it tackles how to handle visitors with a learning disability reminding volunteers to refer to them by their correct age before adding the confusing question "when an old intellectually-disabled is a child?"

A string of outdated passages follow, again all will good intent but….Well, judge for yourselves…

"Even if it should be helped, it should not be allowed that a male supporter helps a female disabled take a bath..."

"...Assuming that the disabled cannot know, hear, think or desire, do not carelessly say or do something near the disabled without permission.

"..It should not be guessed that the disabled has no thought and cannot decide.

"...It should be always careful that my doubt can be felt by the disabled in advance to be estranged, and it is most necessary that the disabled should be treated not by fraud, but by sincerity."

The section dedicated to the “mentally disabled” carries advice such as…

“Frequency compliment the said person to have trust and confidence by giving a concrete example.”

“The mentally disabled person is dangerous to cause an accident”

“The treated person is mild and not dangerous”

And…”It is a disease not to be cured well.”

Communications director of the International Paralympic Committee Craig Spence told insidethegames: "Clearly some of the language and terminology that appears to have been used does seem inappropriate and we will be providing feedback to [Pyeongchang 2018] on this matter."

The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang take place from February 9th to 25th and Paralympics between March 8th and 18th.