Researchers have extensively documented the issues in quantity and quality of media coverage of the Paralympic Games. The lack of coverage and stereotypical representations can be attributed to a variety of structural and cultural factors, notably including journalistic norms and values. This scholarly commentary proposes a reconsideration of journalistic values in order to argue that sports journalists have a professional responsibility to cover the Paralympics and issues of disability for at least three reasons: (a) The Paralympics are an elite-level, international sporting event and thus merit sport-focused coverage, (b) sport journalists have an ethical obligation to include diverse perspectives in reporting and to challenge stereotypes, and (c) sport is intertwined with social issues and requires contextualized reporting. The commentary concludes with recommendations for sport communication and journalism education.
Media Coverage of the Paralympics: Recommendations for Sport Journalism Practice and Education
Dunja Antunovic and Andrea Bundon
Expert Users’ Perceptions of Racing Wheelchair Design and Setup: The Knowns, Unknowns, and Next Steps
Andrea Bundon, Barry S. Mason, and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey
This paper demonstrates how a qualitative methodology can be used to gain novel insights into the demands of wheelchair racing and the impact of particular racing chair configurations on optimal sport performance via engagement with expert users (wheelchair racers, coaches, and manufacturers). We specifically explore how expert users understand how wheels, tires, and bearings impact sport performance and how they engage, implement, or reject evidence-based research pertaining to these components. We identify areas where participants perceive there to be an immediate need for more research especially pertaining to the ability to make individualized recommendations for athletes. The findings from this project speak to the value of a qualitative research design for capturing the embodied knowledge of expert users and also make suggestions for “next step” projects pertaining to wheels, tires, and bearings drawn directly from the comments of participants.
Enactments of Integrated, Disability-Inclusive Sport Policy by Sporting Organizations
Andrew M. Hammond, Andrea Bundon, Caitlin Pentifallo Gadd, and Tim Konoval
This article critically analyzed the enactment of disability-inclusive sport policies by provincial sporting organizations in British Columbia. Thirty semistructured interviews with managers representing 13 organizations informed the analysis. Findings highlighted how organizational circumstances prompted managers to enact integration policies in novel ways at the regional level. For instance, nondisabled sporting organizations mediated the adoption of integration policies due to the perceived impact on nondisabled programming. In contrast, disability sport organizations resisted integration out of concern that nondisabled organizations could not deliver programming to an equivalent standard. To thwart the perceived integration threat, disability sport organizations developed novel solutions, such as registering themselves as freestanding organizations. Discussion arises as to whether integration is the “gold standard” of inclusion in disability sport. Policy recommendations are also discussed.
Gender Parity, False Starts, and Promising Practices in the Paralympic Movement
Nikolaus A. Dean, Andrea Bundon, P. David Howe, and Natalie Abele
Although women have been a part of the Paralympic Movement since its inauguration, they remain underrepresented in almost all aspects of parasport. Noting these gender-based discrepancies, the International Paralympic Committee and several National Paralympic Committees have made commitments to address the issue of gender balance across the movement. Guided theoretically by feminist and disability sport scholarship, this article explores the various initiatives and strategies implemented by the International Paralympic Committee and National Paralympic Committees to address the issue of gender parity. Through 29 qualitative interviews with Paralympic athletes, organizers, academics, and journalists, our study illustrates that initiatives and strategies implemented by these organizations have affected women differently based on a range of social, cultural, and political factors.
“It Looks Good on Paper, But It Was Never Meant to Be Real”: Mixed-Gender Events in the Paralympic Movement
Nikolaus A. Dean, Andrea Bundon, P. David Howe, and Natalie Abele
Although the Paralympic Games have been around for over 60 years, women remain underrepresented in almost all aspects of the Paralympic Movement. It has been suggested that a way to increase women’s involvement is through the implementation of mixed-gender events. On paper, this approach makes sense. However, when it comes to the implementation of mixed-gender opportunities for women, it is less clear how effective these events are in increasing participation by women in Para sport. Through document analysis and interviews with athletes and organizers of mixed-gender Paralympic sport, we explore the various strategies that four mixed-gender sports have used to address the issue of gender parity. Using critical feminist theories, we illustrate how larger social, political, and cultural ideas about gender influence women’s experiences within these events and discuss the potential of using mixed-gender initiatives to address gender parity within the Paralympic Movement.
Exploring the Relationship Between Quality and Quantity of Physical Activity Participation in Community-Based Exercise Programs for Persons With Physical Disabilities
Laura C. Koch, Shane N. Sweet, Kristiann E. Man, Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Krystn Orr, Andrea Bundon, Amy E. Latimer-Cheung, and Jennifer R. Tomasone
Community-based exercise programs for persons with disabilities promote greater quantity of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) participation among their members, perhaps because of the quality experiences fostered by the program. This study aimed to explore the relationship between quality and quantity of physical activity participation in the context of community-based exercise programming and the role that gender plays in this relationship. Adults with physical disabilities (N = 91; M age = 55, 49 men) from three community-based exercise programs across Canada completed a survey asking about quality participation (Measure of Experiential Aspects of Participation [MeEAP]) and LTPA. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationship between MeEAP scores and LTPA. Quality participation was not related to LTPA, even with gender included as a moderator. Men reported higher levels of LTPA and quality participation than women, highlighting gender differences that should be considered when researching and designing exercise programs for individuals with disabilities.