Beyond Olympic Legacy: Understanding Paralympic Legacy Through a Thematic Analysis

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 University of Western Ontario
  • 2 University of Technology Sydney
  • 3 Mount Royal University
  • 4 University of East London
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Over the last decade a great deal of work has examined major sport event legacies and event leverage. Much of this work has involved Olympic studies and this paper seeks to add to the body of knowledge surrounding major sport event legacies by examining the largely overlooked area of the Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Games are the second largest multisport event after the Olympic Games depending upon which parameters are used and since Sydney 2000 there has been an ‘operational partnership’ where bid cities are required to host both Games. Yet, few studies have evaluated the comparative outcomes, legacies and event leverage that Paralympic games have generated. This paper addresses this absence by conducting a thematic analysis of Paralympic legacy research. The thematic analysis used a combination of keywords involving event legacy across 13 major academic databases. Of the 43 articles identified as having Paralympic legacy related content only 13 articles empirically investigated Paralympic legacy. In reviewing the research, it is noted that the bulk of the research has focused on Summer Paralympic Games with little interest in the Winter Paralympic Games. The major findings for legacy-based research include: infrastructure; sport; information education, and awareness; human capital; and managerial changes. However, while these findings may seem congruent with major event legacies frameworks conceptually, an examination of the detailed findings shows that Paralympic legacy research is isomorphic and adds a new component to existing legacy dimensions.

Misener is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Darcy is with the UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Legg is with the Department of Physical Education and Recreation Studies, Mount Royal College, Alberta, Canada. Gilbert is with the School of Health, Sport, and Bioscience, University of East London, London, United Kingdom.

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