This study, which examines key features of contemporary media representations of disabled athletes in the context of the Paralympic Games, engages with established literature on representations of disability to critically interpret recent trends in journalistic inquiry. The analysis of media coverage of the 2012 and 2014 Paralympic Games identifies salient themes concerning the representation of disability. This, along with an investigation of documentary evidence concerning attempts by key stakeholders including the International Paralympic Committee to influence the nature of representation, contributes to an interrogation of the disability narrative emerging from the Paralympic Games and a consideration of the extent to which media coverage has shifted significantly from previous representations of disability.
Aaron Beacom, Liam French and Scott Kendall
Otto J. Schantz and Keith Gilbert
The purpose of this study was to analyze newspaper coverage of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics by the French and German press. Drawing on media theories and critical concepts of exclusion and disability. 104 articles from 8 French and German nationwide newspapers were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methodology. The results suggest that performances of athletes with disabilities are of little importance to the French and German sport press. Indeed, the way in which the newspapers reported on the Paralympics misconstrued the ideal of the Paralympic Games. Instead of reporting on the sporting and idealistic aspects of this meeting, the press chose the commercial logic of general news value and focused primarily on national success and medal rankings of the countries.
David E.J. Purdue and P. David Howe
This paper explores issues surrounding the inclusion of impaired bodies within the Paralympic Games. To achieve this aim we use empirical data gathered from semistructured interviews held with a range of Paralympic stakeholders. The background upon which this data are analyzed is a critical analysis of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC’s) current vision and mission. Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and capital (Bourdieu, 1997, 1984) provide the theoretical foundation upon which the analysis takes place. Discussion centers on Paralympic stakeholders’ articulations of issues surrounding individuals with cerebral palsy and/or severe physical impairments, emanating, in part, from a desire for aesthetically pleasing sporting performances. This paper gives Paralympic stakeholders a voice, upon which the IPC and broader sporting community may choose to reflect.
Jo Ann M. Buysse and Bria Borcherding
DePauw’s (1997) theoretical construct of sport and how we view the body focuses on three socially constructed ideals of physicality, masculinity, and sexuality. Those who do not fit into these ideals are marginalized when it comes to sport participation and media coverage. In this study the authors examined photographs from 12 print newspapers in five countries during the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing to determine how Paralympic athletes were treated. They examined the number of photographs and the content of each to determine whether athletes with disabilities are portrayed as tokens who are marginalized or treated as elite athletes. The findings support DePauw’s construct and point to gender and disability differences and hierarchy in print-media photographs.
Ik Young Chang, Jane Crossman, Jane Taylor and Diane Walker
This study compared and explored the textual coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (OG) and Paralympic Games (PG) by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. The authors found 8 high-order themes and 25 low-order themes for the OG. The high-order themes were predicting game results, reporting game results, athleticism, politics, ethical issues, nationalism, the media, and the economy. For the PG, there were 4 high-order themes, and each high-order theme had 1 low-order theme. The high-order themes were reporting game results, athleticism, ethical issues, and equality between Paralympians and Olympians. Comparisons between OG and PG coverage are discussed and recommendations for future research provided.
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.
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.
Damian Haslett, Javier Monforte, Inhyang Choi and Brett Smith
for disability activists (see Ahmed, 2013 ; Braye, Dixon, & Gibbons, 2013 , 2015 ; Braye, Gibbons, & Dixon, 2013 ; Brittain & Beacom, 2016 ; Howe, 2018 ; Ryan, 2019 ; Shakespeare, 2016 ). For example, disability activists have publicly opposed the sponsors of the Paralympic Games whom they
By William W. Kelly. Published 2018 by University of California Press , Oakland, CA. At the time of writing this review Japan is about to become the focus for much of the sporting world as it hosts first the Rugby Union World Cup in 2019 and then the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020