The Paralympics Are Coming Home
Britain has, more that any other country, been essential to the promotion of the Paralympic movement. Indeed the movement was born out of a gathering of British WW2 veterans in 1948. With the London 2012 the Paralympics are coming home.
The Paralympic games of Beijing 2008 never really captured the imagination. There was a sense of Beijing officials doing their duty in hosting the games rather than enthusiastically embracing them.
There couldn’t be a larger contrast with the games of 2012. From Seb Coe - who took the Paralympic flame up Snowdon this week - to Boris Johnson and the larger public itself.
2.3 million tickets have been sold to an eager British public. Many of which were sold before the success of Team GB galvanized a nation and ignited enthusiasm like never before. This is the first time for a Paralympic games that everyone who attends has paid for tickets. And hasn’t merely been ushered in to fill seats.
And with Channel 4’s extensive coverage - 150 hours on three dedicated feeds. The product itself is bound to captivate.
Anyone who has seen the great sports documentary Murderball can testify to the excitement, passion and raw aggression in wheelchair rugby. A sport that - like handball at the 2012 Olympics - could be a real sleeper hit at these games.
It can only benefit these games that for the first time in history we have seen a Paralympian - the most famous in the World - compete at the Olympics. Oscar Pistorius ran for South Africa and had the honour of carrying the nation’s flag during the closing ceremony. He will undoubtedly be a star of these games. Along with countless others we are not yet familiar with.
Countless others who will offer up moments just as inspiring as Mo Farah’s 5,000 and 10,000m victories.
There is a sense that this could be the games that take the Paralympics to a whole new level. After all they are coming home.
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