Director's Corner: Koreans Use 1988 Olympic Park to Get Their Daily Dose of Exercise - But Where are the People with Disabilities?
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Seoul, Korea to deliver a presentation about our National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability. One of the highlights of my trip was staying in Olympic Park, which was completed in 1988 to host Olympic and Paralympic games. The Park is filled with "highways" of running paths, beautiful trees and gardens, rolling hills, and quiet duck ponds, an amazing site for a large and bustling city that has a similar feel to New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. Outside the Olympic Village are busy roadways, tall apartment buildings and corporate headquarters, and the constant drone of cars, buses, and trucks.
Seven days a week, thousands of Seoul's local inhabitants converge on this oasis of green space to obtain their daily dose of exercise and to escape the confines of their tight-quartered apartments. Koreans, young and old, were obtaining their daily dose of physical activity as they socialized with friends and neighbors. Many were walking, others jogging, and several more were cycling or rollerblading. The only disappointing feature of these beautiful surroundings was the absence of people with disabilities.