On Tuesday, the opening ceremonies for the Paralympics took place. Like the other ceremonies, I flicked back and forth until eventually I saw my countries athletes enter. One of the highlights of the Olympic games for me was always how the torch was going to be lit. The most memorable ones were, Mohamed Ali in Atlanta, the ski jumper (Lillehammer?), and there was an archer who shot a flaming arrow (don’t remember where that was). I don’t tend to watch the ceremonies in their entirety.
There is not much live coverage of the Paralympics. With the Olympics, there was at least 5-7 stations covering events, so you could always find a sport you were interested in. Now, there are just a few hours of highlights with the occasional live event.
Broadcasting sports is all about money. There is a reason that the ACL, The American Cornhole League (I’m not joking, it’s a “sport”), is on ESPN 8—not ESPN 2, or 3, or 4…
There is big money in the Olympics. Not as much for the Paralympics. Why? Because less people watch it. Which is too bad because athletes are athletes no matter what the sport (except maybe Cornhole) and no matter what the ability.
I admit, I’m guilty of watching the Paralympics less that the Olympics—if the coverage was better, I’d watch more—but for the most part it is because there are less sports I am interested in. I do enjoy the track and field events, although more track than field. Triathelon is always fun to watch along with swimming and rowing.
It is always interesting to see how athletes adapt to their abilities and how the sports—and equipment—are modified to allow for the greatest inclusion and participation. Some of the sports, in my opinion, are harder than some of the Olympic ones. The seated volleyball comes to mind.
Each year, the Paralympics gets a little bigger and receives more exposure. Hear that corporate sponsors?
Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
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