The Paralympics 2012

Where is the TV coverage of the Paralympics?

This is one of the answers I found:

… You will have a tough time watching any of these events. Why? Because NBC does not feel the athletes are worthy enough for your time. Sure, NBC Sports Network (formerly “Versus”) will be running one-hour highlight shows starting on Sept. 4 for four days, and NBC itself will be doing a 90-minute special on Sept. 16 — a week after the conclusion of the games. If you are a fan of YouTube, there will be 10 daily video highlights packages. That is it, no more.

It is sad that NBC will not cover any of the sports live or even tape-delayed, as it did for the Olympics. If other countries — including Great Britain, China, Brazil and Australia — heavily broadcast these games, why can’t we?  From Tony Pauls, a parent of a gold medal winner in the 2010 Paralympics.

The 2012 Paralympics in London had its opening ceremony on August 29 and will end on September 9. This year there are 4,280 paralympians from 165 countries. The United States sent 227 athletes including 20 military veterans and active-duty service members. These athletes compete in 20 sports, including archery, cycling, rowing, equestrian, sailing, sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, and wheelchair basketball.

As far as London is concerned, the same red carpet has been extended for these athletes during the 11 days of competition. The sponsors that were there for the Olympics have all remained for the Paralympics – and all the tickets have been sold out. Sebastian Coe, chief of the London organizing committee, issued a big welcome “to a movement that shows what sport is all about… Sport is about what you can do, what you can achieve, the limits you can reach, the barriers you can break. Sport shows what is possible. Sport refuses to take no for an answer.”

At the opening ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the games, saying the nation looked forward to “celebrating the uplifting spirit which distinguishes the Paralympic Games from other events.” Physicist Stephen Hawking, a scientist who has shown that physical disabilities do not limit human potential, said

“The Paralympic Games is about transforming our perception of the world. We are all different, there is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit…”

“Enlightenment” was the theme, and the opening ceremonies represented a night of empowerment for persons with disabilities worldwide. The parade took two hours – nearly an hour longer than expected. What were they thinking? Of course it takes longer!

“Some athletes came in motorized carts, others propelled themselves in their wheelchairs, still others were pushed by coaches or volunteers. Athletes walked in with canes, walking sticks, or crutches, eye patches and sunglasses, prosthetic limbs, no limbs, all determined to make it around the stadium.”

Hosting athletes with disabilities is not new to London. The first games were organized in 1948 at a hospital outside London by a doctor who wanted to change the lives of patients with spinal injuries and “inspire new hope in them through sport.” It was set to coincide with the London Olympics and had 14 men and two women who took part in wheelchair archery contests. Many of them were veterans injured in World War II.

We don’t have stories each night about the backgrounds, families, hopes and dreams of these athletes, but I have read interesting, yet somewhat curious, quotes from two of these paralympians:

“I am not going to let blindness build a brick wall around me… I’d give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do.”

And

“The way I think of it now is, it’s [losing my arm] probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me… I’ve met new people. I’ve tried a few things out, different sports; done loads of things that I never did before. It’s kind of made me the person I am today. And I have changed since, but I think only for the better.”

I wonder what most people with disabilities would choose – the life they have with their (physical) disability, or a life with a body strong and healthy?

I’d love to hear what you think.

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One Response to The Paralympics 2012

  1. Shirley says:

    We were in London during the Paralympics and it was on tv everyday. At trafalgar square the erected a huge screen so people could watch it together. We watched wheelchair tennis and met some wheelchair fencers at Buckingham Palace. We got their picture and congratulated them.

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