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U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, a museum of equality and inclusiveness

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, a museum of equality and inclusiveness
Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 19:40:27-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As the Paralympic games get underway in Tokyo, News5 headed back to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic museum, where accessibility and equality are on full display.

While taking a trip to the museum, you'll find details when it comes to accessibility in things like the height of screens for people using wheelchairs and other interactive features at the exhibits.

"When we talk about the United States Olympic and Paralympic museum, that's where we see equality beginning," said John Register, a two-time and two-sport Paralympian. "This museum is the most accessible museum in the world. Anybody can come over here and experience it at their own level."

Register said when museum was designed Paralympians were involved and a key part of the process.

"We see in this museum, that everybody rolls down from the top level down. The original plan was to roll up, but it's a lot harder to push up (in a wheel chair) then it is to roll down," said Register.

And whether it's a story about an Olympian or Paralympian at the museum, all athletes and visitors are treated equal.

"Right from the start, you get to choose how you come through the museum and experience it. If you're visually impaired or totally blind, you get a chance to have audio description throughout the entire museum. If you have auditory problems you get a chance to increase that audio or you have sign language interpreters," said Register.

Part of the Paralympic movement is also recognizing that Paralympians are central to the history of the games, to team USA, and also at the museum.

"The Paralympic games are the parallel games to the Olympic games," said Register. "When I watch people walk through here and I just kind of sit back in the corner and observe, everybody's having that experience at their own pace, at their own level, and it's celebrated and not separated, I think that's what this museum teaches, not only us, but society as a whole."

For the first time ever, the Paralympic games will be featured in prime time coverage on NBC in the united states. More than 1,200 hours of Paralympic coverage is also planned for TV and streaming platforms.

Unlike previous games, Paralympians in the Tokyo games will also be paid the same as their Olympic counterparts for their medal wins.

For Register, he says the Paralympic movement is one that's been growing and will continue to grow in the future.

"I've seen the Paralympic movement gaining steam for the longevity that I've been with it. I had no idea the movement even existed, but once I became a Paralympic athlete, I began to see how the Paralympic movement has been growing."

The Paralympic games end on September 5.