Canada’s Guillaume Ouellet “not okay” with Paralympic and Olympic comparison

Canadian runner Guillaume Ouellet raised concerns on comparing performances between the Olympics and Paralympics (photo: Athletics Canada).

Guillaume Ouellet

One of the bigger stories out of the Paralympics this week was the top four runners in the T13 1,500m final running a faster time than the Olympic gold medallist in the 1,500m from a month earlier. Matt Centrowitz, the Olympic 1,500m champion, ran 3:50.00 in a highly-tactical race last month, the slowest winning time since 1932.

In the visually impaired 1,500m at the Paralympic Games, the fourth-place finisher ran 3:49.84. The winner clocked 3:48.29. Guillaume Ouellet, one of Canada’s top Paralympic middle-distance runners, was frustrated by the media’s focus on the Olympic and Paralympic comparison.

“They try to say that we are at the same level as Olympians and that’s not okay.” Ouellet told CBC Sports, referring to the media, on Thursday. “I don’t think that’s the way we should promote Paralympic sport.”

RELATED: 19-year-old Canadian Liam Stanley wins T37 1,500m silver at Paralympic Games.

Ouellet finished ninth in the 1,500m final, which was held on Sept. 11, at the Paralympics. His comments on the 1,500m came after he finished fourth in the 5,000m on Thursday. Ouellet calls the comparison between the two races “not okay” and “out-of-context” as the 1,500m runners at the Olympics ran upwards of 20 seconds slower than their lifetime bests.

“There are tremendous stories out there,” the 29-year-old continues. “Give attention to those stories to draw more interest to the Paralympic Games and Paralympic sports in general.”

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Evan Dunfee, the Olympic racewalker who finished fourth in the 50K walk in Rio, agrees with Ouellet saying “Let’s focus on the many many amazing real stories that exist around the Games.”

Canada is having a great showing in athletics at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. As of Sept. 15, the athletics team has won six medals with many events still to come. Ouellet set a personal best in the T13 1,500m final (3:57.98) and ran 14:54.07 in the T13 5,000m final. Rio 2016 marks his Olympic debut.

Medallists

Gold – Brent Lakatos, T53 100m
Gold – Michelle Stilwell, T52 400m
Silver – Brent Lakatos, T53 400m
Silver – Alister McQueen, T44 Javelin
Silver – Liam Stanley, T37 1500m
Bronze – Brent Lakatos, T53 800m