This study, which examines key features of contemporary media representations of disabled athletes in the context of the Paralympic Games, engages with established literature on representations of disability to critically interpret recent trends in journalistic inquiry. The analysis of media coverage of the 2012 and 2014 Paralympic Games identifies salient themes concerning the representation of disability. This, along with an investigation of documentary evidence concerning attempts by key stakeholders including the International Paralympic Committee to influence the nature of representation, contributes to an interrogation of the disability narrative emerging from the Paralympic Games and a consideration of the extent to which media coverage has shifted significantly from previous representations of disability.
Beacom and Kendall are with the Dept. of Sport and Health Sciences, and French, the Dept. of Journalism and Media, University of St. Mark and St. John, Plymouth, UK.