And the Winner is...
The second instalment of our post-Tokyo coverage, we’re awarding gold to the
Seven Network and encouraging our dear readers to get out and try a little
Murderball (if you dare...).
Part 2: TV Gold
For the first time in Australian history, the Paralympic Games were shown on the same network as the Summer Olympics. And not only that, but in prime time.
Previously, the Seven Network would host the Olympics and then – two weeks later – the ABC would broadcast the Paralympics. Pretty slack, right. But, I’ll give credit where it’s due: Seven’s coverage of Tokyo 2020 was incredible.
Not only because the Games were shown live and in full on its affiliate channel, 7Mate, but because they also employed commentators who are living with a disability. Champion Paralympians Kurt Fearnley and Annabelle Williams anchored Seven’s coverage (alongside TV veteran and former athlete herself, Johanna Griggs), with a swag of special comments coming from disabled athletes.
Regular readers will know a pet hate of mine is when able bodied people speak about and make decisions for those living with a disability. So this turn of events was a breath of fresh air – athletes ALSO with a disability speaking about other athletes with a disability!
I also love how the Paralympics have their own sports – not just modifications of their able bodied counterparts, but truly unique to athletes with a disability. Sports including Murderball aren’t contested in the Olympics, but are a feature of the Paralympics.
While these sports were established for athletes with a disability, there’s also been some elements taken into consideration to ensure the level playing field. Take for example Goalball: essentially a soccer-like sport for people with a visual impairment, many of you will know that there are severity levels of blindness. Therefore, how can you ensure a level playing field when visual impairments can vary?
Introduce blackout masks of course, problem solved.
Because of these level-playing-field rules, it also means that these sports don’t just have to be enjoyed by people with a disability – able bodies can participate as well. Can I say from experience that seeing an able bodied person jump in a chair to try Murderball for the first time is one of those bucket list items that EVERYONE should enjoy!
So if , like me, you felt inspired and entertained by the incredible athleticism on display in Tokyo, why not challenge yourself to try a Paralympic sport yourself – able bodied or disabled.
Sport of all types and levels offers an incredible community, filled with friendship, purpose and support.
Whether you’re living with a disability or not, everyone needs connection. Plus, it offers great form of exercise! What better way to meeting new people and having a go, than trying something completely different.
Nothing like a little bit of Paralympic magic to get you misty eyed and optimistic hey!
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