Where next for disabled athletes?

  canarieslover 10:02 AM 10 Sep 12
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The media and politicians are so full of enthusiasm, but will it just peter out? I would like to think that there will be support by way of publicity and televising some of their world championship rounds. Is it likely to happen or will the next appearance on television be the wheelchair racers at the London Marathon? Obviously not all of the events at the Paralympics made for compulsive viewing but the same could equally be said of some of the Olympic events. I thought there were enough events that did provide excellent viewing and that these would deserve some sort of follow-up. Unfortunately I don't have any confidence in the media or politicians pursuing it once the initial glow starts to wear off. I hope I'm proved wrong as watching the Paralympics was a bit of an eye opener for me. Their attitude to life, despite what it had dealt them, was absolutely outstanding and epitomised by Alex Zinardi whose interview at Brands Hatch was so positive and enthusiastic. To follow each day I found 'The Last Leg' became compulsive viewing because this attitude and humour shone through there. A few less talking heads and advert breaks during the day would have been nice, but at least we got to see quite a lot of the competitors.

  Quickbeam 10:36 AM 10 Sep 12
Answer

canarieslover

"will it just peter out?" It shouldn't do, there are plans for an annual Paralympic Festival at the Olympic Park. That along with the Boris' annual Festival of Cycling is the much talked about sporting legacy in action.

"not all of the events at the Paralympics made for compulsive viewing" As was synkronized swimmin' for me, but I at least acknowledged it's skill. One of the biggest disappointments for me was in not showing the road cycling and rowing live, they are two of the most compulsive sports to spectate.

"watching the Paralympics was a bit of an eye opener for me." ...and a few million others. Once I got past the first few days of gawping like it was a side show, I accepted it for what it is. And is that not the point of the Paralympics?

"Their attitude to life..." Is something an awful lot of us have taken notice of.

"A few less... advert breaks" That's the price of commercial TV, as are the annoying ads on this site. I think the BBC are quietly kicking themselves for not realising the potential of broadcasting a home Paralympics as a national crown jewel of broadcasting.

I have no doubt that Britain has shown the world the value of doing the Paralympics with an equal media profile to the Olympics, we've shown them what we expect in the future when they're held, as the Mayor of Rio has admitted, and we've shown the world that the Paralympic Games and athletes are every bit as competitive as the able bodied games and Olympians.

How much is a Rio return by boat?

  Quickbeam 10:49 AM 10 Sep 12

"I'd be amazed if Adam Hills doesn't get his own show" Yes, I thought he was quite good too, for an Australian...

  wiz-king 11:28 AM 10 Sep 12

It will suffer from the same lack of grass roots support as football.

Lots of spectators to the top 'league' but very little at the bottom. My local football club has more youngsters who want to join and play than it has parents who will give up their time to help with the little jobs like washing 17 lots of kit after weekend matches, we have now had to tell them to do there own kit despite having big industrial washer and driers.

  Quickbeam 11:43 AM 10 Sep 12

wiz-king

But it has reached this years high profile level from almost zilch over the last 20 years. It also has the advantage that competitive sport is now accepted as part of a recovery programme. But you are right, at grass roots level it will need the potential Paralympian athletes to be allowed to compete in their events at able bodied meetings for the positive to be embraced permanently.

  Joseph Kerr 13:06 PM 10 Sep 12

Why 20 years?

Sport has been accepted as part of rehab for ages, but mant paralympic athletes can hardly be said to be in rehab.

There are many in the world of disability sport who do not believe that the olympics and paralympics should be merged, and that they have different messages and aims. I'm not sure what I think of that one.

Incidentally, there are examples of disabled people taking part in the olympics since the early 1900s.

Or, to put it as I did elsewhere:

I'm conflicted as to whether the Paralympics should be part of the Olympics, or even aspire to most people's idea of equality with them. There are some very successful, certainly elite athletes who believe it is a different entity eith a dfifferent message.

On th eother hand, I wathched the opening ceremony thinking that, after the impressive Olympic opening ceremony, the movement has not really decided what it wants to be, and it wasn't given the resources (i can only assume)to make something as good as the Olympic opening. I was struck by a sense of "same ol'...".*

Luckily, we then got 11 days of great sport and good coverage, apart from the coverage of the cycling, which could have been better, and that of the wheelchair marathons, which was lamentable.

*I'm not really a lover of these ceremonies. I probably felt so good about the Olympic opening because it was here, and there were three or four stand out moments. It probably made expectations too high for the Paralympic opening, when in fact it was probably no worse than any previous one. I just hoped for something really special this time. I've not seen th eclosing ceremony yet, but have heard ugly rumours of much Coldplay.

The effect of it being over here cannot be overrated. There is a discussion elsewhere about whether the effect will just peter out. I think it will, as the effect was because of the location of the games. However, there are apparently plans for disabled sport to happen every year at the Olympic Park now, so I may be wrong, if this happens and is well covered.

I was wrong about Channel 4's coverage. It was excellent, when I was expecting it to resemble hangover TV for the Hollyoaks crowd, presented by folk not known for sports presenting.

  canarieslover 13:06 PM 10 Sep 12

Quickbeam

I have seen the proposal for an annual Games but surely that will depend on the finances being available for the ongoing upkeep of the stadium etc. That was the reason that it was originally going to become a football stadium after the Olympics so that it could earn it's keep. The occasional athletics meeting and an annual big event won't manage to raise the finance. Boris's cycling festival is obviously going to be a low priced event in comparison so should hopefully do more to promote cycling. I must agree with wiz-king though as many sports are only recognised by the big names and big teams and everyone else struggles. Even well known football teams are not escaping fiscal reality nowadays.

  Quickbeam 13:10 PM 10 Sep 12

"Why 20 years?" 20 years as in high profile compared to very low profile, that's all I meant.

  Quickbeam 13:13 PM 10 Sep 12

...effectively the return to Britain has been an immense relaunch/remarket. In that, there is a great success.

  bremner 13:20 PM 10 Sep 12

I shall be the voice of doom.

I predict that by this time next year all but a few will have forgotten 90% of all the GB olympians and particularly the paralympians.Multi gold winning olympians together with Ellie Simmonds and David Weir will last in the public eye longer.

TV will revert to their primary sports with very very few non "mainstream" Olympic or Paralympic sports breaking through.

The Olympics have been absolutely fantastic but life will I fear return to normal very quickly.

I sincerely hope I am wrong.

  Joseph Kerr 13:25 PM 10 Sep 12

Oh, you may well be right, bremner. But if international disability sport was staged in the park again, and it was sufficiently advertised and covered, and people just want to go to the park, it could just be good...

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