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London Paralympics

Analysis and Comment (27)

It’s time for athletes of all abilities to compete in one event. It’s time for athletes of all abilities to compete in one event. EPA/Andy Rain

Come together: the Olympics and Paralympics should unite

It was painful to see the Olympic rings taken down from London Bridge after the Olympics only to be replaced by the Paralympics emblem (the three agitos). Aside from the fact this emblem was not chosen…
A gold medal in women’s goalball was one of China’s 231 medals in just 11 days of competition. A gold medal in women’s goalball was one of China’s 231 medals in just 11 days of competition. EPA/Gerry Penny

The Great Haul of China: Paralympic success by the numbers

China dominated the medal table at the London Paralympic Games, cementing its position as the world’s leading Paralympics nation. In fact, China has topped the medal table at each of the past three Paralympic…
The Australian Steelers celebrate a gold medal after beating Canada in the men’s wheelchair rugby final. The Australian Steelers celebrate a gold medal after beating Canada in the men’s wheelchair rugby final. Kerim Okten/EPA

Beyond the Paralympics: where to for disability sport in Australia?

As the bright lights of the London 2012 Paralympic Games begin to dim, and as the media focus diverts back to everyday life, we’re left with a pertinent question: where to now for disability sport in Australia…
Who’s your sports minister? Australian Kate Ellis and Britain’s Sport Minister Gerry Sutcliffe at the Paralympics. Who’s your sports minister? Australian Kate Ellis and Britain’s Sport Minister Gerry Sutcliffe at the Paralympics. AAP/Australian Paralympic Committee/Roger Bool

An uncomfortable legacy: to be or not to be a British Australian?

It happens at every Olympics (or Paralympics) and Ashes series - the Hamlet-like behaviour that comes with having two passports. It’s not enough to sit on the fence at times of hysterical national fervour…
A lack of knee joints in his prosthetic legs means Whitehead runs with a swinging gait. A lack of knee joints in his prosthetic legs means Whitehead runs with a swinging gait. EPA/Kerim Okten

Crossing the line: are Richard Whitehead’s moves illegal?

The participation of Oscar Pistorius at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics has been, at times, controversial. Yet technology used by above-the-knee amputees is also causing a stir at London 2012…
It might be time for the Paralympics movement to strike out on its own. It might be time for the Paralympics movement to strike out on its own. EPA/Andy Rain

The Paralympics and Olympics are better linked than ever … but why?

In the 64 years since the Paralympics was born, the relationship between this event and the Olympics has grown and evolved. And now, with both events returning to London in 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics…
The links between the military and disability sport are being cast anew. The links between the military and disability sport are being cast anew. Corporal Jamie Osborne, Department of Defence

The military and the modern Paralympic movement

In the past five or six years there has been a marked increase in the overt use of disability sport in the rehabilitation of soldiers injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – which, in a sense, is…
Sometimes having no legs is better than having one. Sometimes having no legs is better than having one. EPA/Jonathan Brady

Pistorius shouldn’t be allowed to compete at the Paralympics

There has been a considerable amount of media coverage surrounding South African amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius who competed at the London Olympics and is now competing at the London Paralympics. The…
Matt Stutzman from the USA won silver in the men’s individual compound open at the London Paralympics. Matt Stutzman from the USA won silver in the men’s individual compound open at the London Paralympics. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Success in Paralympic archery is a matter of millimetres

The accuracy obtained by top-level archers – at both the Olympics and Paralympics – using modern archery equipment would astonish most non-archers. Archers stand or sit 70m away from a target which has…
British Prime Minister David Cameron with a Paralympic athlete in London this year. British Prime Minister David Cameron with a Paralympic athlete in London this year. EPA/Andy Rain

Why would you DO that? Faking disability at the Paralympics

People pretending to be disabled in order to compete in the Paralympics or Special Olympics is the fodder of many a bad-taste joke. There have even been movies such as The Ringer and an episode of South…
Athletes competing in the Paralympics don’t have a level playing field. Athletes competing in the Paralympics don’t have a level playing field. Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

Media blitz: marketing is the next front for the Paralympics

Have you detected the not-so-subtle difference in the coverage afforded to our Paralympic and Olympic athletes? A sense that the marketing budgets are worlds apart for the two sporting events? It wouldn’t…
Mariia Pomazan was stripped of her gold medal following an Australian protest. Mariia Pomazan was stripped of her gold medal following an Australian protest. EPA/Gerry Penny

Discus farce prompts points pow-wow at Paralympics

The final of the women’s discus (F35-36) at the London Paralympic Games on Sunday (AEST) raised a question that doesn’t normally comes up once a sporting contest is over: “So, who won?” Ukrainian F35 thrower…
In recent years there’s been a noticeable leap in interest about the Paralympics. In recent years there’s been a noticeable leap in interest about the Paralympics. EPA/Tal Cohen

The Paralympics is more popular than ever – but what’s it for?

The Paralympics has become more prominent in recent times than ever before. Although it was first held in Rome 1960 — drawing inspiration from the 1948 British Stoke Mandeville Games for Paraplegics…
Playing basketball in a wheelchair is hard enough; playing it at an elite level is something else entirely. Playing basketball in a wheelchair is hard enough; playing it at an elite level is something else entirely. Andy Rain/EPA

We can all learn a lot from the Paralympics … and not just about sport

It’s been a mystery to me, over many years spent watching sporting events such as the Paralympics, just how disability is classified. With the London Paralympic Games now well underway, I’m sure I’m not…
Alan Oliveira came from behind to beat Oscar Pistorius, sparking further debate about the effect of prosthetic legs. Alan Oliveira came from behind to beat Oscar Pistorius, sparking further debate about the effect of prosthetic legs. Andy Rain/EPA

Pistorius' loss to Oliveira fuels the ‘disruptive technology’ debate

“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius is no stranger to controversy. This morning in London (AEST) the South African athlete was involved in a remarkable race at the Paralympics, the men’s 200m – T44 final, in…
Oilveira’s come-from-behind victory raises questions about the advantages provided by prosthetic legs. Oilveira’s come-from-behind victory raises questions about the advantages provided by prosthetic legs. Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

Beaten by a length? Pistorius, Oliveira and Paralympic fairness

In a major upset, Alan Oliveira of Brazil beat Oscar Pistorius to win an extraordinary T43/44 200 metre race today. But did Oliveira have an unfair advantage? The 20-year-old Brazilian finished ahead of…
Common boosting practices by athletes include breaking their own toes. Common boosting practices by athletes include breaking their own toes. Foxtongue

Doping, boosting and other forms of cheating at the Paralympics

Over the next few weeks, the newspapers in Australia and overseas are going to be full of stories describing Paralympians as inspirational role models. Such reports might or might not be true … it just…
Australia’s Jacqueline Freney celebrates after the Women’s 100m Backstroke on August 30. Australia’s Jacqueline Freney celebrates after the Women’s 100m Backstroke on August 30. Kerim Okten/EPA

Prowess and poise: Paralympians should be household names

As I peered out of a frosted Canberra window with child-like amazement at the gossamer snowflakes cascading from the muted grey sky, I thought of my friend training in the warm Swiss sun in preparation…
Classification allows athletes to compete against those with a similar level of impairment. Classification allows athletes to compete against those with a similar level of impairment. EPA/Louisa Gouliamaki

Explainer: what is ‘classification’ at the Paralympics?

If you’re watching the Paralympics on TV, listening on radio or reading about the Games in the papers or online, you’ll notice different sports are sub-divided into separate classes. If you’re listening…
The Paralympics might be more popular than ever, but do disabled people see and feel the benefits? The Paralympics might be more popular than ever, but do disabled people see and feel the benefits? Adam Scotti

Superhip to supercrip: the ‘trickle-down’ effect of the Paralympics

Sport is seen as important for the quality of life, self-esteem, independence and social integration of people with disabilities, and the Paralympics are one expression of this importance. But what effect…
The myths of disability are giving way to a new sense of normal. The myths of disability are giving way to a new sense of normal. Daniel Karmann/EPA

Paralympics opening ceremony – a tour de force for humanity

The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympics was nothing short of a tour de force. But as a new “enlightenment” (the theme for the ceremony), it also raised as many questions about disability as…
Are individuals disabled by a society that doesn’t accommodate difference? Are individuals disabled by a society that doesn’t accommodate difference? philippe leroyer

Disabled by society: Paralympians face challenges beyond the field

Australians love a good sports story about a hero overcoming adversity. Track cyclist Anna Meares’ gold medal in London was all the more impressive given her recovery from a life-threatening neck injury…
Projects are underway to ensure the Paralympics doesn’t fade into the background. Projects are underway to ensure the Paralympics doesn’t fade into the background. EPA/Joerge Carstensen

Wikipedia will help create the most ‘visible’ Paralympics ever

The 2012 Paralympic Games open in London tomorrow morning (AEST). These Games will build upon the successes of Sydney and Beijing in making visible the ability of outstanding athletes. And they are taking…
Artificial leg wearers tend to fare better than “wheelchair-bound” athletes in the media. Artificial leg wearers tend to fare better than “wheelchair-bound” athletes in the media. Jason Verwey

Leg-ism leaves some Paralympic stars out on a limb

We all know the media is influential. We also know the media’s portrayal of disability issues and disabled people is uneven. Such biases are also evident in the portrayal of the technology employed by…
Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley has unparalleled exposure as a Paralympic athlete. Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley has unparalleled exposure as a Paralympic athlete. AAP

Brand power: why sponsoring Paralympians allows everyone to strike gold

When triple Paralympic gold mediallist Evan O'Hanlon steps up to the track for the 100m this week, you might notice something odd about his racing apparel. The 24-year-old, who is Australia’s fastest disabled…
When it comes to design and performance, all wheelchairs are not created equally. When it comes to design and performance, all wheelchairs are not created equally. April Fonti/AAP

Wheelchair technology in the Paralympics … and its spin-offs

Equipment such as wheelchairs or prosthesis is fundamental in allowing some people with disabilities to carry out the tasks of daily living. But in the endeavour to go higher, faster and longer, athletes…