The 2012 London Paralympic Games have proved to be an outstanding spectacle of achievement on so many levels. I sat spellbound as, yet again, the skies of our capital glowed with fire and pride during the opening ceremony. More than anything was my appreciation of the quality of content that was far from being overshadowed by the magnificent ‘Danny Boyle’ Olympic opening extravaganza. Competing athletes from a never-ending procession of flags from country after country entered the arena to rapturous and celebratory applause as the world appeared to take the games to its heart. The Paralympic games, often perceived as the ‘poor’ relation to the Olympics, had finally stamped its mark, laying down the gauntlet to other countries yet to be involved. Some 164 nations represented by over 4,000 athletes have attended the London games, 17 more flags than seen in Beijing. Yet, despite sending over 200 athletes to the games, the American media has been heavily criticised for its lack of live broadcast content. The chef de mission of the American Paralympic team, Aimee Mullins, was reported as saying it was disheartening that U.S viewers were not able to see more live broadcasts from the Games, when countries like Australia, France and Germany were giving it ‘top-billing’. Even the opening ceremony was broadcast after the event to the American people using only edited highlights. One doesn’t often think of the United States as being slow to be at the forefront of a world wide sporting ‘happening’: perhaps they’ll have caught on by the time the flame reaches Rio in 2016.
One other small point. In 2009 I wrote about an amazing sport called Powerchair Football, the governing body of which is the Wheelchair Football Association, who, in turn, is recognised by the Football Association. My hope was to see this amazingly physical sport represented in London but sadly, it was not included for various unknown reasons, and has lost out to canoeing and the triathlon in 2016. 2020 perhaps?