Spotlight on Paralympics

The opening ceremony of the Games Paralympic Games in London, Wednesday, Aug. 29, was very annoying to look at the millions of Britons who have followed on Channel 4 hacked many commercial breaks in the show permanently. But it is undoubtedly good news. The Paralympics have evolved into a full-fledged event, which attracts sponsors and advertisers. This is the article on Paralympics

The British television, which has bought the broadcast rights to the beard of the BBC decided to make a key asset for its image and its programs messes up the Games on 9 September. "This is the biggest project we've ever created," said Stuart Cosgrove, a senior Channel 4. The channel will broadcast live to one hundred and fifty hours during the twelve days of the event, mobilizing its antenna from morning to night, with a dozen hours a day. Far, very far from what is done in France .

An event for you people

"Welcome to the greatest Paralympic history." Philip Craven , President of the Paralympic Committee International , Columbia itself, summarized in his speech during the ceremony the ambition of London Paralympic a successful session that marks the history, treating the event on a par with the Olympics valid. No question to believe that the magnitude will be the same at the beginning of August, of course. "But the gap is narrowing with the Paralympics. latter fall into the big league and are no longer relegated to status of afterthought, "said Tim Hollingworth , director of the British Paralympic Committee.

"OJ valid and Paralympic Games have been designed for the first time as a single event," comments Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee. It starts of course with sports facilities and the Olympic Village, equipped to host the 4200 disabled athletes from 165 countries, a record. But it goes beyond that: the objective is to make the event a popular venue that attracts the public.

This seems to work . Nearly 2.3 million tickets have already been sold (2.5 million milestone should be reached by the end of the Games), breaking the record of 1.8 million tickets sold in Beijing. And that is without comparison with Athens in 2000, where 850,000 tickets for the Paralympic found buyers.


That London put forward declination handisport is a logical continuation of the story. It was in England that the adventure began. In 1948, while the British capital receives the first Olympics after the Second World War, Ludwig Guttmann , a German doctor emigrated to Oxford in 1939, organizes sports competitions Hospital Stoke Mandeville . Patients, veterans wounded in the spine, are battling for a contest of archery in a wheelchair. The ancestor of the Paralympic Games was born.

These will be formally established in 1960 in Rome, and remain in a quasi-anonymity to the Seoul Games in 1988, when they first use the same stages. Since then, the Paralympics are slowly but surely growing, with a marked improvement in Beijing four years ago. "It is in China that the world really become aware of the importance of the Paralympics, "said Philip Craven, the International Olympic Committee.

Ade Adepitan, one of the presenters of the Paralympics on Channel 4, is witnessing evolution. His family, originally from Nigeria , moved to London when he was 3 years' s care of his disability: he had lost the use of his legs after having contracted polio. Until the age of 14, he was unaware of the disabled. It was the mid-1980s, and the practice remained confidential UK . "My friends often put in a supermarket caddy that I can walk with them. One day we were in the street and two physiotherapists , passing by car then stopped and asked if the basketball wheelchair tempted me. "

And that is how, after passing through the Spain where he was professional basketball player, Ade Adepitan went to Sydney in 2000. "This is where the Paralympics began to be serious, especially with more diffusion to television. "Four years later, he won a bronze medal in Athens.

More interested in public appearance sports

Meanwhile, it has also become a familiar face on British television, including presenting wildlife documentaries and children's programming. This year, as a presenter of the Paralympics, he set a goal to increase public interest in the sporting aspect of disability sport and less to the history of disability athletes. And for those who have doubts about the requirement of sports events, he recalled he was training when he was in the British team, six hours per day, six days a week. "I pulled 800 baskets a day." The emergence of Oscar Pistorius , the South African leg amputee, who runs on slides and qualified for the Olympics valid this year, also came to prove the quality of Paralympic sport athletes.
Lee Pearson has also seen the evolution of the development of Paralympic athletes. Suffering from arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a disease that atrophies his arms and legs, Columbia specialist dressage horse has won nine gold medals at three Paralympic Games. This year, he will try his audience to repeat the feat and win three more victories. After a successful initial estimates, it has undergone a fundamental change since 2008: the arrival of sponsors. He who lived primarily money paid by UK Sport , the government agency in charge of high level, has now signed contracts with the telecommunications company BT, BP oil, and clothing chain Next.

The discovery of the commercial potential of the Paralympic Games is probably the main novelty of this edition. Suzi Williams, marketing director of BT, does not hide his enthusiasm. "This is a brand completely underutilized," says she. From a purely monetary sponsor a Paralympian costs about ten times cheaper than valid, and the return on investment is very positive for the brand, it allows to send a message human, to discover unfamiliar faces, s' associated with the Olympic spirit while avoiding the commercial circus that are valid games. Evolution is huge compared to 1989, when BT had paid the salary of the first employee permanent British Paralympic Committee: "At the time, it was part of our budget charity says Suzi Williams . Nowadays, it is a business decision. "


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