DisABILITY in 2012 – A Paralympic homecoming

On Wednesday 29th August 2012, the 14th edition of the Summer Paralympic Games got underway with an opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in London, Great Britain and by doing so, came back to their spiritual home for the first time.

Not since the time of Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a German-born neurologist that gave hope to those with spinal injuries of a good life at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, has the flagship event of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) returned to its founding nation, but it finally did in 2012.

He opened up opportunities to injured servicemen and women of a healthy and happy lifestyle as he opened up a National Spinal Injuries Centre at the hospital in February 1944 and from this, the Summer Paralympic Games were first held in Rome, Italy in 1960. Continue reading

DisABILITY in 2012 – The British Paraorchestra

A group of British musicians have found a way of expressing themselves and in some cases, having a voice to share with others for the first time in their lives.

Thanks to Charles Hazlewood, a conductor who has led orchestras around the world for more than 20 years, the British Paraorchestra is welcoming people with a disability to make music and find a chance to shine which has often eluded them in the past.

In the words of Hazlewood himself, “The Paralympics have shifted attitudes, so we want to do the same with music and the performers have a great chance to showcase their skills” and where he admits that it can be tough for musicians to achieve mainstream popularity if they are disabled, his vision is offering an opportunity to challenge and change perceptions. Continue reading

Channel 4 are changing the British Paralympic brand

As the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games are set to arrive in London, Great Britain on Wednesday 29th August 2012, something will be a little bit different for fans of the competition in Britain who would rather get their sporting fix from sitting in an armchair than sitting in a stadium.

There will be a lot of coverage on terrestrial television and when I say there will be a lot, I mean that you will be able to follow the Paralympics from the beginning of the day to the moment that your brain cannot take any more.

This is something which has only been the case for the Summer Olympic Games in the past. The BBC have provided blanket coverage of the Olympics but then very little of an event that gives disabled athletes an opportunity to excel, in exactly the same way that their able-bodied counterparts compete. Continue reading