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.
James V. Mastro, Allen W. Burton, Marjorie Rosendahl and Claudine Sherrill
Daniel J. Daly, Laurie A. Malone, David J. Smith, Yves Vanlandewijck and Robert D. Steadward
A video race analysis was conducted at the Atlanta Paralympic Games swimming competition. The purpose was to describe the contribution of clean swimming speed, as well as start, turn, and finish speed, to the total race performance in the four strokes for the men’s 100 m events. Start, turn, and finish times, as well as clean swimming speed during four race sections, were measured on videotapes during the preliminary heats (329 swims). Information on 1996 Olympic Games finalists (N = 16) was also available. In Paralympic swimmers, next to clean swimming speed, both turning and finishing were highly correlated with the end race result. Paralympic swimmers do start, turn, and finish slower than Olympic swimmers but in direct relation to their slower clean swimming speed. The race pattern of these components is not different between Paralympic and Olympic swimmers.
Daniel J. Daly, Stefka K. Djobova, Laurie A. Malone, Yves Vanlandewijck and Robert D. Steadward
A video race analysis was conducted on 100-m freestyle performances of 72 male and 62 female finalists at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Races were won or lost in the second half of each 50-m race lap and differences in speed between swimmers were more related to stroke length than stroke rate. Within-race speed changes were more related to changes in stroke rate. Stroke rate changes were also responsible for speed changes between qualifying heats and finals in the first part of races, while stroke length was responsible for better speed maintenance at the end of races. Results indicate that Paralympic finalists use race speed patterns similar to able-bodied elite swimmers.
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.
Kate Ferrara, Jan Burns and Hayley Mills
Despite some changes to the way that people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are viewed in society, negative attitudes prevail. One of the aspirations of the 2012 Paralympic games was to influence the public’s attitudes toward people with disabilities. The aim of this study was to investigate whether stimuli depicting people with ID performing at Paralympic level of competition change attitudes toward ID. A mixed randomized comparison design was employed comparing 2 groups: those who viewed Paralympic-level ID sport footage and information and those who viewed Olympic footage and information. One hundred fourteen students, mean age 25 yr, were administered measures of implicit (subconscious) attitudes toward disability and explicit (belief-based) attitudes toward ID. Implicit attitudes significantly changed in a positive direction for both groups. The findings provide evidence that both Paralympic (ID) and Olympic media coverage may have at least a short-term effect on attitudes toward people with disabilities.
P. David Howe and Carwyn Jones
In recent years the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the institution responsible for the administration, organization, and management of the Paralympic Games, has reshaped the landscape of sport for the disabled. This article argues that the IPC has marginalized the practice community, notably the International Organizations of Sport for the Disabled. By wrestling away control of the classification systems developed by these organizations, the IPC has transformed them to such an extent that they fail to provide opportunities for equitable sporting practice and the result has been a threat to the ideology of Paralympism. We illustrate this by examining two classification systems that are currently used within Paralympic Sport: the integrated functional system employed in the sport of swimming and the disability-specific system used within athletics.
Mathew Dowling and Jimmy Smith
This investigation examined how Own the Podium (OTP) has contributed to the ongoing development of highperformance sport in Canada. In adopting an institutional work perspective, we contend that OTP’s continuance has not been the sole product of Canada’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games or lobbying efforts to secure additional funding. Rather, OTP’s permanence can also be explained as the by-product of the activities and actions of OTP itself and its supporting stakeholders to embed and institutionalize both the organization specifically and high-performance sport more generally in the Canadian sport landscape. In short, OTP’s continued existence can, in part, be explained by ongoing institutional work. To support our contentions, we draw on and analyze documentation that was either produced by, or significant to the development of, OTP. Our analysis identifies a number of OTP-related practices (e.g., tiering, hiring of high-performance advisors, and the creation and support of new high-performance sport programs) that have further institutionalized OTP and the norms, routines, and practices associated with high-performance sport. More broadly, our investigation draws attention to the importance of individual and collective actors in shaping institutional settings in sport.
Fiona Pelly, Nanna L. Meyer, Jeni Pearce, Sarah J. Burkhart and Louise M. Burke
The aim of this study was to evaluate the food provision and nutrition support at the London 2012 Olympic (OG) and Paralympic Games (PG) from the perspective of sports nutrition experts attending the event. Participants (n = 15) were asked to complete an online survey and rate on a Likert scale menu qualities, food safety, sustainability practices, nutrition labeling, and provision for cultural needs, dietary regimes and specific situations. Open-ended responses were incorporated to explore expert opinion and areas for improvement. Participants rated their overall experience of the food provision as 7.6 out of 10 (range 5 to 10), with the majority (n = 11) rating it greater than 7. The variety, accessibility, presentation, temperature, and freshness of menu items rated as average to good. A below average rating was received for recovery food and beverages, provision of food for traveling to other venues, taking suitable snacks out of the dining hall and provision of food at other venues. However, the variety and accessibility of choices for Ramadan, and provision of postcompetition food were rated highly. A number of comments were received about the lack of gluten free and lower energy/fat items. The inclusion of allergens on nutrition labeling was considered more important than nutrient content. While dietetic review of the menu in advance of the OG and PG is clearly a valuable process that has resulted in improvements in the food supply, there are still areas that need to be addressed that are currently not implemented during the event.
Joelle Leonie Flueck, Samuel Mettler and Claudio Perret
The aim of this study was to investigate whether caffeine and/or sodium citrate have an ergogenic effect on the 1,500-m exercise performance in elite wheelchair athletes. A placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over and double-blind study design was conducted with the four treatments placebo, caffeine, sodium citrate and the combination of caffeine and sodium citrate. Nine healthy, elite wheelchair-racing athletes (median: [min; max] age: 28 y [23; 54]; height: 173 cm [165; 188]; weight: 62.9 kg [48.9; 68.4], category T53/54) completed the study. All athletes were national team members, including several Paralympic Games, World and European Championship medalists. The athletes performed a 1,500-m time trial four times on a wheelchair training roller. Time to complete 1,500-m, pH, bicarbonate and sodium concentration as well as lactate concentration were measured. The time to complete 1,500-m was not significantly different between the four treatments (placebo: 170.6 s [141.7; 232.0]; caffeine: 179.5 s [134.8; 239.6]; sodium citrate: 178.3 s [136.4; 247.1]; combination: 177.6 s [136.1; 256.2]). However, pH and bicarbonate concentrations were significantly increased with sodium citrate ingestion compared with placebo. Moreover, maximal lactate concentrations were significantly higher in the caffeine and the combination treatment compared with placebo. The supplementation with sodium citrate and/or caffeine did not provide an ergogenic effect on the 1,500-m exercise performance in wheelchair elite athletes.
Lee Nolan, Benjamin L. Patritti, Laura Stana and Sean M. Tweedy
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent to which residual shank length affects long jump performance of elite athletes with a unilateral transtibial amputation. Sixteen elite, male, long jumpers with a transtibial amputation were videoed while competing in major championships (World Championships 1998, 2002 and Paralympic Games, 2004). The approach, take-off, and landing of each athlete’s best jump was digitized to determine residual and intact shank lengths, jump distance, and horizontal and vertical velocity of center of mass at touchdown. Residual shank length ranged from 15 cm to 38 cm. There were weak, nonsignificant relationships between residual shank length and (a) distance jumped (r = 0.30), (b) horizontal velocity (r = 0.31), and vertical velocity (r = 0.05). Based on these results, residual shank length is not an important determinant of long jump performance, and it is therefore appropriate that all long jumpers with transtibial amputation compete in the same class. The relationship between residual shank length and key performance variables was stronger among athletes that jumped off their prosthetic leg (N = 5), and although this result must be interpreted cautiously, it indicates the need for further research.