Champion level athleticism is amazing in any context. However, watching a video of the Deaflympics in swimming is very different. After seeing this video, we know that sporting events can be captured in many ways. One of the most amazing parts of the video is that there is absolutely no sound. This makes sense in the context. Sound is something completely unnecessary for a person within the Deaf community. This is very different to other sporting events. Commentators even make lots of money to speak their opinions during games. Because of this it is strange to imagine an event with no sound as a hearing person. I rely on sound everyday. Usually when a video has no sound I think there is something wrong with it. But, this is an obvious example of when sound is not important to interpret what is going on during sporting events.
Everyone in the video is using sign language instead. So, rather than the sound being turned up the camera person makes sure to focus on the speakers hands and body. This way anyone watching the video will know who won and what the competitors names are. Also, bright flags and ribbons have the country the person is competing for made very obvious. This can help people who are Deaf to know where each person is from without someone saying so. Seeing this event on video is interesting enough but I do wonder what it would be like to be there in person. It seems people here do not cheer with their voices but more with their hands and arms and even their entire bodies. I am sure that would be a truly amazing thing to see in person.
I also have to comment on the swimmers themselves. They stand behind the block and there are many people organizing them and telling them which order to swim in. These people have to get their attention by waving to them or tapping them on the shoulder. It seems actually a calmer environment than in other sporting events I have seen. Still it is amazing how organized the swimmers are. There is never a time when they are not standing there waiting for their turn. Even when the race is about to begin they are ready and waiting. It is a wonder they know when to start swimming without the classic starting gun. Instead there is a man by the side of the pool who holds a red flag. As he makes certain movements the swimmer know to step onto the blocks, bend down and then start. It is in these little details that a person can see how well adapted people in the Deaf community can be to still hold these sorts of events without using sound at all.
As a hearing person working with Deaf people it is important to remember to use different cues to get peoples’ attention. I rely on sound and on shouting so much to get people to listen to me. But in this case there is a polite way to do the same thing. It is much better to communicate with people the way they are comfortable with. This sometimes means being quiet. I am sure talking around people who are Deaf would make them feel left out especially because the community has done such a good job of communicating with one another in other ways. I wish I could say congratulations to these super athletes. Not only have they done amazing work in swimming but it seems they have overcome so much. That is something to be respected.