We examined the landmark American television coverage of the 1996 Paralympic Games. Using a methodological framework developed by Duncan (1983, 1986) and drawing on critical concepts in the disability literature, we conducted a content analysis of the entire 4-hr prerecorded broadcast. Empowering and disempowering portrayals of athletes were identified. Some commentary contained many examples of stereotyping and positioned Paralympians as victims of misfortune, as different, as Other. Other commentary characterized Paralympians as “normal” and as no different from nondisabled athletes. The brevity of the coverage, the poor production values, and the absence of commentary about rules, strategies, and physical mastery suggested that the Paralympic Games were less than, not parallel to, the Olympics. A “hierarchy of (social) acceptability” was useful in explaining differences among the way Paralympic athletes were portrayed by television coverage.
Lea Ann “Beez” Schell and Margaret Carlisle Duncan
Jadeera Phaik Geok Cheong, Selina Khoo and Rizal Razman
This study analyzed newspaper coverage of the 2012 London Paralympic Games by 8 Malaysian newspapers. Articles and photographs from 4 English-language and 4 Malay-language newspapers were examined from August 28 (1 day before the Games) to September 10, 2012 (1 day after the Games closing). Tables, graphs, letters, fact boxes, and lists of events were excluded from analysis. A total of 132 articles and 131 photographs were analyzed. Content analysis of the newspaper articles revealed that most (62.8%) of the articles contained positive reference to the athletes with a disability. There were equal numbers (39.1%) of action and static shots of athletes. More articles and photographs of Malaysian (58%) than non-Malaysian (42%) athletes with a disability were identified. Only 14.9% of the articles and photographs were related to female athletes with a disability.
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.
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.
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
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.
Laurent Frossard, James Smeathers, Alison O’Riordan and Scott Goodman
The parameters of the shot’s trajectory were reported for male and female gold medalists (classes F52, F53, F54, and F55) who competed at the 2000 Paralympic Games and the 2002 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships. The specific objective was to determine the magnitude of differences in these parameters across classes and genders. The release velocity of the shot increased with the performance and the classification for both males (8.30 m/s – 9.96 m/s) and females (4.58 m/s – 8.50 m/s). The measured angle of the shot’s trajectory at release also increased with the performance and the classification for both males (27.54° – 32.47°) and females (9.02° – 34.52°). The position of the shot from a fixed reference point at release revealed a similar trend for both males (2.01 m – 2.68 m) and females (1.16 m – 1.98 m), although it was weaker.
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.