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Nigel Thomas and Andrew Smith

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.

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Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

The purpose of this study was to examine the physiological changes in elite wheelchair basketball players leading up to the 2000 Paralympics. Twelve male players attended regular physiological assessments on six occasions; averaged data of two sessions for each year were used. Physiological measures included body mass, skinfold measurements, peak oxygen uptake and peak power obtained during maximal sprinting. VO2peak significantly increased from 2.65 to 2.83 L·min-1 prior to the Paralympics. Training had little influence on the anthropometric measurements or maximal sprinting data. In conclusion, the GB wheelchair basketball players appeared to have high levels of aerobic and anaerobic fitness. The longitudinal physiological profiles leading to the 2000 Paralympics suggest that players improved their aerobic base while maintaining other fitness prerequisites.

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Nancy Quinn, Laura Misener and P. David Howe

“all-important” medal count, elevating the significance of parasport performances. Historically, elite competition for able-bodied and parasport athletes has taken place separately, as in the model of the Paralympic Games, which adheres to the Olympiad (hence the term Paralympiad). The Paralympic event

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Rafael L. Kons, Kai Krabben, David L. Mann, Gabriela Fischer and Daniele Detanico

sport classes who competed in the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games (PG). In addition, we identified the likelihood of athletes with more severe vision impairment winning medals at the PG. We hypothesized that functionally blind athletes (B1 class) would obtain a lower percentage of scores, medals

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Laura Misener, Simon Darcy, David Legg and Keith Gilbert

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.

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Janine Coates and Philip B. Vickerman

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games aimed to deliver a legacy to citizens of the United Kingdom, which included inspiring a generation of young people to participate in sport. This study aimed to understand the legacy of the Paralympic Games for children with disabilities. Eight adolescents (11–16 yr) with physical disabilities were interviewed about their perceptions of the Paralympic Games. Thematic analysis found 3 key themes that further our understanding of the Paralympic legacy. These were Paralympians as role models, changing perceptions of disability, and the motivating nature of the Paralympics. Findings demonstrate that the Games were inspirational for children with disabilities, improving their self-perceptions. This is discussed in relation to previous literature, and core recommendations are made.

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Lara Grobler, Suzanne Ferreira and Elmarie Terblanche

The Paralympic Games have undergone many changes since their inception in 1960, one being the advances made in running-specific prostheses (RSPs) for track athletes with lower-limb amputations.

Purpose:

To investigate the sprinting-performance changes in athletes with lower-limb amputations since 1992 to assess whether the influence of developments in RSP technology is evident.

Methods:

The results of the Olympic and Paralympic Games ranging between 1992 and 2012 for the 100-m and 200-m were collected, and performance trends, percentage change in performance, and competition density (CD) were calculated.

Results:

The results indicate that the greatest performance increases were seen in athletes with lower-limb amputations (T42 = 26%, T44 = 14%). These performance improvements were greater than for Olympic athletes (<3%), as well as Paralympic athletes from other selected classes (<10%). The T42 and T44 classes also showed the lowest CD values.

Discussion:

These results suggest that although there is an overall trend for improved Paralympic sprint performances, RSP technology has played a noteworthy role in the progression of performances of athletes with amputations. It is also hypothesized that the difference in the performance improvements between the T42 and T44 classes is due to the level of disability and therefore the extent to which technology is required to enable locomotion.

Conclusion:

It is evident that RSP technology has played a significant role in the progression of performances in athletes with lower-limb amputations.

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James V. Mastro, Allen W. Burton, Marjorie Rosendahl and Claudine Sherrill

Hierarchies of preference by elite athletes with impairments toward other athletes with impairments were examined by administering the Athletes With Impairments Attitude Survey (AWIAS) to 138 members of the United States Disabled Sports Team as they were traveling to the 1992 Paralympic Games. The AWIAS uses 12 statements concerning social and sport relationships to measure social distance from a particular impairment group. Five groups of athletes participated—athletes with amputations, cerebral palsy, dwarfism or les autres, paraplegia or quadriplegia, and visual impairment—with each participant filling out a separate survey for the four impairment groups other than his or her own. For all groups combined, the participants’ responses toward other impairment groups, ordered from most to least favorable attitudes, were amputations, les autres, para/quadriplegia, visual impairment, and cerebral palsy. The preference hierarchies for individual groups were very similar to this overall pattern.

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Sheng K. Wu and Trevor Williams

The aim was to analyze the relationship between performance and classes of swimmers and between types of physical impairments and medal winners. Participants were 374 swimmers at the 1996 Paralympic Games with six types of impairments: poliomyelitis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, amputation, dysmelia, and les autres. Data included performance times, gender, classification, swimming stroke and distance, and type of impairment. ANOVA and Spearman rank correlation treatment of data revealed significant differences in swimmers’ mean speeds across classes and positive correlations in swimmers’ classes and swimming speeds in all male and female events; no type of impairment dominated the opportunity to participate, win medals, or advance to the finals. It was concluded that the current swimming classification system is effective with respect to generating fair competition for most swimmers.