Tracking changes in everyday experiences of disability and disability sport within the context of the 2012 London Paralympics
Publisher: CMC Publishing, Bournemouth University
Place of Publication: Bournemouth
The 2012 Paralympics was the biggest ever, the most accessible and best attended in its 64-year history. The Paralympics and ideas of disability associated with the Games provide significant opportunity for reflection on how far societal opinions, attitudes and behaviour have changed regarding disability. In 2012 – the first ever “legacy games” – an explicit aim of the Paralympics was to “transform the perception of disabled people in society”, (Channel 4), and use sport to contribute to “a better world for all people with a disability” (IPC 2011). The 2012 Games therefore came with a social agenda: to challenge the current perceptions many people have about disability and disability sport.
Within this report – commissioned by the UK’s Paralympic broadcaster, Channel 4 – we consider everyday experiences of disability and disability sport within the context of the London 2012 Paralympics and televised coverage of the Games. The analysis is based 140 in-depth interviews that took place in the UK over a period of eighteen months, during the lead up to, and immediately after, the Games: between January 2011 and September 2012. Embedded in the lifeworld of our participants, we ask whether the 2012 Paralympics was successful in changing perceptions of disability.