Preoccupied with Able-Bodiedness? An Analysis of the British Media Coverage of the 2000 Paralympic Games

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

Click name to view affiliation

Nigel ThomasStaffordshire University, UK

Search for other papers by Nigel Thomas in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Andrew SmithChester College of Higher Education, UK

Search for other papers by Andrew Smith in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

This study analyzed British newspaper coverage of the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. Sixty-two articles from 4 British newspapers were examined for the terminology used to describe athletes’ disabilities and the language and images used to portray athletes’ performances. The results suggest a tendency to convey the achievements of Paralympic athletes using medicalized descriptions of disability and to compare them to athletes without disabilities. Photographic coverage tended to hide the athletes’ impairments, and female athletes were less likely to be photographed in active poses. Although coverage emphasized the sporting achievement of athletes with disabilities by comparing them to Olympic athletes and by deemphasizing disability, it may have inadvertently reinforced stereotypical perceptions of disability and reaffirmed a preoccupation with able-bodiedness.

Nigel Thomas is with Sport, Health and Exercise, School of Health, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom, ST4 2DF. E-mail: n.b.thomas@staffs.ac.uk. Andrew Smith is with Physical Education and Sports Science, Chester College of Higher Education, Chester UK CH1 4BJ. E-mail: andy.smith@chester.ac.uk.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 3364 841 142
Full Text Views 131 31 4
PDF Downloads 172 45 6