Cyclist will boycott next Summer Deaflympics if ICSD do not change their ways.

Professional cyclist and Deaflympic silver and bronze medal winner, Tom Smith from Wales has responded to the latest news on the falsification of audiograms.


“Your recent article on the falsification of audiograms by the Russian leadership of Deaf sport has touched me in a negative way. I am really disappointed about what I have read.

I have never been comfortable about the outcome of the election at the ICSD Congress in Sofia 2013, where America and Great Britain promoted clear mandates and manifestos in their election campaigns. The Russians provided neither a manifesto nor even a general plan on what they were going to achieve.

Since then, the ICSD President; without reason, has sacked its entire staff, the majority of whom was British and brought in an abundance of Russian personnel.

After this I learned that at the European Swimming Championships (held in Russia), all doping controls were held on the final day after a week’s worth of competition, and not all events were tested. This alone makes a mockery of sporting values, and towards WADA.

The Russian ICSD have made no improvements to deaf sport, no improvements to doping control, no improvements to athletes futures and refuse to answer simple emails from nations about upcoming events. More worrying is that the ICSD President has told the IOC and IPC that he does not need their assistance to develop deaf sport; this misplaced defiance is both arrogant and irresponsible.

And then we learn about a senior member of staff, put there by the ICSD President himself; submitting a false Audiogram under an athletes name, putting them in danger of disqualification. Fortunately for that athlete the situation was rectified but let me ask you this- what right do Russia have to the in charge of the ICSD?

I want to say to my fellow Deaflympians; do you honestly believe that the ICSD leadership has your best interest at heart? They have so far ignored the Athletes Commission chaired by Dean Barton-Smith and Terence Parkin. They have already been found guilty of manipulating audiograms. They have lied, they have cheated, and they have alienated the IOC and IPC along the way. Deaf Sport currently has no future.

Are you really going to sit back and allow this to carry on? We should be in the Paralympics where our best interests will be safeguarded, and also to enhance deaf awareness. There have been talks of a petition for the Deaflympic athletes who really want this change. If you want this change, email Two Big Ears and let them know.
As an athlete who has morals and ethics, I can say that I will 100% not be going any further Deaflympics with these criminals in charge.”

7 thoughts on “Cyclist will boycott next Summer Deaflympics if ICSD do not change their ways.

  1. I totally agree with what Tom Smith is saying in this article. I thinks its a disgrace because it strips deaf athletes of their reputation as honest sportsmen and women. I think it is unjust that we are not in the Paralympics because we do not get any support from the ICSD and would gain much more recognition competing in the Paralympics. I feel, as a swimmer who competed and medalled in the European Deaf Swimming Championships, that the fact there was no doping control meant I was at an unfair disadvantage knowing anyone there could have taken performance enhancing drugs and got away with it, making the sport potentially dishonest.
    I am totally for the integration of Deaf athletes into the Para movement.


    • Hi Emily, while I do understand and support Tom Smith’s strong comments wholeheartedly. As a former Deaflympian myself and having been in Deaf sports movement for the past 20 years in two different regions. The “Deaf in Paralympics debate” has been going-on for a long time – a while before you were born. I think you may miss the point and you need to understand the consequences should the elite Deaf athletes was integrated to Paralympics. Its too easy and dangerous to just say ‘let integrate’ because it will dramatically cut the number of deaf athletes participating in Summer Games from 4,000 down to few hundreds as the Paralympics can only cater form some athletes with their several different categories/groups such as visual impairment, amputees from knee below, amputee from thigh or arms, CP, dwarfism and many to mention. So many deaf athletes to miss out – you could be one of them. Another thing – some deaf people rely on signing language (I know several ‘deaf’ swimmers use orally – were able to speak well and doesn’t sign) – imagine trying to have sign language interpreters for each deaf signers and the soaring cost of interpreter’s fees. It will have massive communication barriers among them unlike to those other non-deaf disabled athletes who doesn’t have problems with communications. Of course, you and like many others, desperately need better recognition and financial support but Paralympics is not a simple nor straightforward answer to the problem. It is something that ICSD / IDC need to tackle and work together in parallel with IPC and they need to get back to be better managed again, doping control, audiogram control and independent bodies to oversee it. It’s unfortunate that the ICSD Delegate voters went for Russian to be president of ICSD in 2013 who has now caused controversies to date. We, in Deaf sports, will need to learn from mistakes and choose a proper and right people to sit on ICSD and a new President to manage, led and change where Craig Crowley have left off as he has done so much of rebuilding work and he only need another 4 years to complete… it has fallen on ‘deaf ears’ to ill-advised delegates and now they are banging their head on the wall with their mistake. We just need patient, rebuild and finally get recognition and support we deserves. Lets be optimistic and change. Keep on swimming, Emily! 🙂


  2. I certainly see the advantages for being part of the para movement- funding being a big one, along with status and integrity. As a Deaflympic swimmer and medallist from the age of 12 at the Deaf World Games (Deaflympics) in Sofia, 1993, I remember the CISS vote not to be part of the Paralympics. My experiences within Paralympic training camps as the sole Deaf swimmer in following years confirmed one thing for me: communication is key, and no other athlete was isolated to the same level as I was in terms of information and inclusion. If we are to become a part of the para movement, it will be a huge culture shock to them, the media and so on. Also, we need to be prepared to fight for communication inclusion on a whole new level, which in some ways will be a shame as it will detract from the sport.


    • The IPC, with their millions of pounds of funding they have received in recent years would certainly not have any problems in funding interpreters. Also, the vast majority of deaf athletes in the United Kingdom use hearing technology and are oral. Also, I don’t see the problem in less Deaf athletes being selected for international competitions because it is the same for any other category in the Para’s.


      • And also they will support some form of Games for only deaf athletes on the basis that they will understand not all Deaf athletes will be able to participate in the Paralympics. It is the Deaf Awareness aspect that will definitely arise from seeing Deaf athletes on TV and in newspapers. That can only be a good thing for us. We need to force the ICSD to accede to this – it seems to me that some of the ICSD members are from countries where there is a clout to stop us being part of the Para’s movement. If that is the case, it is a very negative attitude that we will suffer for years to come.


  3. Pingback: Deaf News: Star British cyclist to boycott Deaflympics in protest at Russian leadership of ICSD | The Limping Chicken

  4. Has there been any update on this recently? Any more athletes who have said they will boycott or any updates on any potential changes? I’ve looked on some Facebook pages for deaf sport organizations but I just haven’t seen much of anything.


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