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Bellatrix's avatar

Do you think the Paralympic Games should be run at the same time as the main Olympic Games?

Asked by Bellatrix (21146 points ) August 16th, 2012

I have been pondering on the Paralympic Games. To me the Paralympic Games are just as important as the Olympics but they seem to be less valued. I have some questions…

How prominently are the Paralympic Games broadcast and covered by media in your country in comparison to the Olympic Games?

Do you or will you watch the Paralympic Games with the same interest as the Olympic Games?

Do you think running the two Games simultaneously would raise the profile of the Paralympic Games? My thought is the events would run consecutively. First the Olympic athletes compete in the shot put, followed by the Paralympic athletes competing in their shot put event.

Any other thoughts about the way the two Games are handled/covered by media?

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19 Answers

harple's avatar

The Paralympics are being broadcast on Channel 4, rather than on the BBC, but then that’s probably part of having fair competition amongst broadcasters etc. Channel 4 is still a very popular channel here in the UK, so it doesn’t feel like they’ve been sidelined.

Tickets for the Para games have almost tripled the previous record, which is something I’m feeling very proud of. The Olympics ended up being such a success for our country (I don’t mean medal-wise, although third in the table is pretty stunning considering our size relative to other countries) that a lot of people who missed out on tickets for it have decided that they’ll still participate in the magic by attending the Paras.

I think that it’s a shame there’s a break between the two, as that means the atmosphere could die down a bit. I would have preferred them to be immediately afterwards, and to then have the closing ceremony once it’s all done.

JLeslie's avatar

From what I understand Britain has spent time talking about the paralympics in the media to raise interest and will be broadcasting the games. The US will only show some highlights few days during the games (if I am wrong somebody correct me).

It’s a shame really, I wish the US promoted and covered it more. The documentary Murderball raised some awareness. Great movie, you should check it out if you haven’t seen it.

Regarding having them happen at the same time. I don’t know how difficult it would be for the city to handle it? More athletes to house, more tourists in town. The venues being available?

TheIntern55's avatar

I don’t think they’re broadcasting it much here in the U.S, unfortunatley. I will, however, watch it whenever I can.
I don’t think they shoud hold it at the exact same time as the regular games. Maybe what @harple said and hold it right after, but before the closing ceremony. Then the medals the Paraolympians earn go towards their country’s overall medal count and they actually contribute to the games as a whole and they’re not so isolated. I think if they held it at the exact same time, the regular games would still take precedant on the media coverage and the Paraolympics would be pushed to the back burner.

JLeslie's avatar

At first started to write the closing ceremonies should be held off until after all the games are played, but that would be very difficult for the athletes for the regular olympics having to be away from regular life all those weeks, and then there is still the problem of housing everyone.

SuperMouse's avatar

Here in the US the coverage of the Paralympic games is a joke. There are a couple places online to watch and some highlights shows on NBC, but other than that there isn’t much of anything.

Personally I think it is ridiculous and polarizing that these games are the red-headed step child of the Olympics and get next to no press or media coverage. Every athlete in these games has trained just as hard as Oscar Pistorius or any other Olympic athlete. It bums me out that in order for Pistorius to even be noticed by anyone he had to push to compete with able-bodied athletes. Even then his story was covered as nothing more then an inspiration to the rest of us and he was held up as an example of “see if he can do it, anyone can.”

Let’s face it, we are uncomfortable watching people who look different than we do. We see those people as “other” or “separate” and privately think “thank God that isn’t me.” Making things such as the Paralympics more mainstream and exposing more people to the reality that physical differences are nothing more or less than physical differences can help stop kind of thinking.

Not to mention the fact that @JLeslie is right Quad Rugby (Murderball) is a kick in the shorts to watch. Those guys are bad ass. Though not at the Paralympic level – my husband plays Quad Rugby so I may be a little biased.

ucme's avatar

Running them concurrently with the olympics would be a logistical nightmare & anyway, better to showcase the paralympians exclusively, this is their stage to provide an insight into the dedication/prowess for their chosen sports.
I will certainly be one avid viewer, bring it on.

SuperMouse's avatar

Ok, I just realized that, while I pontificated about the Paralympics, I didn’t clearly answer the question. No, I do not think they should run at the same time. I think the are different events and I like the way they are scheduled right after the Olympics. I think scheduling them together with make the Paralympics fade even further into the background.

OpryLeigh's avatar

The BPA (British Paralympic Association) want the two events to be seperate so that they each get their own recognition. The BPA and the BOA (British Olympic Association) are two seperate organisations to ensure that they each get their own control over their games. I do think it is right that they are close together in time and that they use the same venue. I wish the BBC were doing the coverage rather than channel 4but I will be tuning in regardless!

wundayatta's avatar

Nope. You’d have to build twice the number of facilities to handle all those sports people at the same time, and that would be an even greater waste of money. Already, it costs too much to build for the Olympics.

I suppose you could farm the paralympics out across the country, but then there would be even less spirit, as people feel like they get the short end of the stick getting stuck with the disabled olympics. And no one would pay attention anyway. They can’t compete with the abled olympics.

It’s better this way. They get to be together and have team spirit and the people who care about them will watch, and the others will get back to their regular lives.

By the way, when are we going to have Olympics for the mentally ill, the readers, the chess players, the chronically ill, and on and on? I mean, we all have limitations. Surely we should all get to have competitions where we only have to compete against people who share the same limitations.

downtide's avatar

It wouldn;t be possible to run them concurrently; there wouldn’t be room, and it would mean even less TV coverage for the paralympic sports. I think a shorter gap between the two would be nice, but I suspect two weeks is essential for cleaning up after the main games and installing any additional facilities required for accesibility etc.

Bellatrix's avatar

Great thoughts and information here. I will back to respond properly later. Thank you all!

OpryLeigh's avatar

@wundayatta The Special Olympics is for the mentally ill but it doesn’t get nearly the amount of coverage that the Olympics and the Paras get.

wundayatta's avatar

@Leanne1986 Really? Obviously I had no idea. Clearly doesn’t get coverage, and if this is so, then that is a real shame.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@wundayatta I believe I saw a little coverage for the Sydney games all those years ago but have never seen coverage for any of the other games.

Bellatrix's avatar

Thank you everyone for your answers. I understand in reality it would be a nightmare to try to run the games simultaneously but I agree with @SuperMouse that the athletes competing in the Paralympics have work just as hard, if not harder in some cases, to reach that elite level, yet they don’t rate the same level of attention from media.

This time, they haven’t even started yet. All the Olympic excitement build-up has dissipated and @ucme has messaged me to say the Paralympics don’t start until the end of August. I haven’t seen one advertisement here for the Paralympics. I don’t even know whether Channel Nine, the Olympic broadcaster this time, will cover those games. That’s how little they are promoting these games.

I feel there should be some serious effort made to make sure these games get the same level of attention as the other Olympics. If not running them simultaneously, how do we do this? How do we (the global Olympic community) make sure they receive adequate coverage? I think most people are interested in seeing these athletes compete (or perhaps I am being naive). In many ways I think the paralympians are more inspiring.

Does anyone know why London has left such a huge break between the running of the Olympics and the Paralympics?

downtide's avatar

Here is why there’s a 2 week gap There’s a lot of work to do to get ready for the paralympics.

Bellatrix's avatar

I just saw an ad last night that said our public broadcaster is going to broadcast the paralympics. Probably not enough money in it for Channel Nine! Glad the ABC will be covering it though, I think they will do a better job.

I do think the break means the momentum has been lost and while I can see there is work to be done, I think the response the games receives suffers because of it. Sad for those athletes who work so hard. It would be great to see some viewing/attendance stats after the games are complete. If I remember I might try and hunt some down in a few weeks.

wundayatta's avatar

Apparently in America, the NBC sports network will be offering an hour of coverage each night. There will also be coverage available through Youtube. NBC will have some 90 minute shows, as well. There is more info in the press release.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

I think they should have a special event, give the paras (no…not the military paras, they’d be brutal) motorized fast wheelchairs, and let loose the runners. Mass hysteria and hilarity will most likely ensue in a maddening case of able bodied carnage and bumper car-dom. No offense to anyone of either class. I’m just being silly.
I watched it and they’re brilliant. The runners were amazing. I dunno how long it must take for someone to adjust to that and be able to run as fast as they did. It was certainly well covered on TV here in the UK – for more than obvious reasons I should imagine.

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