Wellbeing & Fitness

Paralympic Games 2012: Disability Horizons’ definitive guide

The Paralympic Games 2012 are nearly upon us and wherever you are and whatever you’re doing – whether watching the Games at home or visiting one of the venues in London – we want to make sure you enjoy the Paralympics to the full.

From the 29th August until the 9th September, over 4,000 disabled athletes from 140 nations will be competing in over 500 medal events… and we don’t want you to miss any of the action!

This week we had a quick chat with Channel 4 reporter, Jordan Jarrett-Brayn, about Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics. He said: “I’m so proud to be a part of the Paraympics 2012. We want to normalise disability; the Paralympics is not about what disabilities each Paralympian has, but about the sport and their achievements.”

What’s on and when?

Both the Channel 4 and London 2012 websites have comprehensive schedules and result guides. If you really want to get ahead of the Games, there’s even a results app that will keep you updated while on the go.

The sports and athletes

Visit the International Paralympics Committe (IPC) website for biographies on all of the athletes from around the world. For those particularly interested in TeamGB, visit Channel 4 to find profiles and even video diaries from the Great British athletes.

The London 2012 website has a comprehensive breakdown of each Paralympic sport, including the basics of each game, jargon busting and ‘did you know’ nuggets of information. For an explanation of the classifications for each sport and disability, visit the IPC website.

Also, watch out for the Lexi Decoder segments broadcast on Channel 4 for simple explanations on the sports, including the reason why people with different disabilities can compete against each other.

Watch it

Official broadcaster Channel 4 will be providing coverage of the Paralympics, starting at 7am with a breakfast show and running right through to 10.30pm on Channel 4 and More 4. It will include live action, analysis of the performances and interviews with the triumphant athletes.

Plus, comedian and amputee Adam Hills will present a highlights show at 10.30am and an alternative guide to the day’s events, called The Last Leg, at 10.30pm.

For all day live coverage, use the Channel 4 Paralympics Extra service with additional channels on Sky, Virgin, Freestat and Freeview HD through the red button.

But if you’re not from the UK, or don’t have access to Channel 4, don’t worry, you won’t miss out. Both the Channel 4 and International Paralympic Committee websites will be streaming the Games live.

Also, we’ve found a couple of TV shows worth catching up on:

• Explaining all that goes on behind the scenes in the run up to the Paralympics and firing the debates, Jon Snow’s Paralympic Show has been whipping up the excitement prior to the Games.
• Road to 2012: Paralympics Extra focuses on two sports in each episode, talking to Paralympic athletes about their journey to London 2012. There are also discussions on what to expect from each country and their athletes.
• That Paralympic Show, which has been running since 2010, is a tongue-in-cheek series working to make Paralympic sports cool. The latest series follows athletes whilst fighting to qualify for TeamGB.
• Sainsbury’s and Channel 4 Presents tells the story of a number of elite athletes, such as swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

Surf the net

You could lose yourself for hours with all the cool things online for the Paralympics, so here are a few of the best bits we have found:

London 2012 and London 2012 YouTube channel: a great selection of photo galleries and videos, from the highlights of the Paralympic torch relay to venue tours.
• IPC and the YouTube channel Paralympic Sport TV:  videos galore including athletes’ diaries, a breakdown of each sport, inspirational ‘believe in yourself’ videos, and tips on the Paralympians to watch.
• Channel 4: you can ‘meet the team’ reporting on the Paralympics and see all the latest news and pictures. It’s also worth checking out the Channel4 Paralympic blog as it delves into Paralympic debates and discusses all things cool about the Paralympics. Lastly, the ParalympicsC4 YouTube channel has a range of videos including a ‘meet the Paralympians’ series and behind the scenes footage.
Paralympics GB: for patriotic Brits, follow the Paralympians and the UK action including breaking news and details on what’s coming up next at the Paralympics.
Games through our eyes: covering sports open to those with learning difficulties, it explains how these sports work and the history behind the inclusion of people with learning difficulties in the Paralympic Games.
BBC: from radio shows featuring the Paralympians to the London 2012 festival highlights.
Sainsbury’s: the interactive website (with the tag line ‘here’s to the extraordinary’) is video and photo focused, with profiles of the TeamGB athletes, quick facts and quotes as well as snippets from Paralympic Ambassador, David Beckham.
Guardian and Telegraph: covering the latest news with commentary on the games. The Guardian also has a cool virtual guide of the Olympic Park.

Of course, last but certainly not least, don’t forget Disability Horizons! From Thursday the 30th August we will be publishing daily articles to keep you up to date with the latest. Our five sport fanatic Disability Horizons readers will be bringing you highlights from the day, facts about the athletes, and inspiring images from the day’s events. Also follow us on Twitter for rolling commentary and links to the coolest things online.

Some other Twitter big hitters who are worth following include: @ParalympicsGB, @C4Paralympics, @London2012, @Paralympic, @London2012Fest, @iammandeville, @OscarPistorius, @TanniGT, @AdeAdepitan and @_JordanJBryan.

OK, it might be a little childish and a potential way to waste an afternoon, but we couldn’t not mention these Paralympic games we’ve found to play online: Paralympic and Olympic athletes Top Trumps, the Wenlock and Mandeville mascot games and have a go at Blind Football. Hours of entertainment await you!

Get involved

You don’t have to be in London to celebrate the Paralympic Games. Wherever you are in the world, take a look at the London 2012 guide to organising a party in your own home or local area so you can celebrate in style! As well as specific ways to register a party in the UK, there are tips on creating party food, organising games and decorations to print.

For all you lucky devils out there who have a ticket to the Games, why not take a look at our guide to accessible London travel. And, if you have a spare moment, take a little time to explore the great city of London with our guide to the 10 accessible London attractions.

Also, visit the London 2012 Festival guide to see what cultural events are on across the UK this summer, like the Road to London 2012 photography display including Paralympic athletes at the National Portrait Gallery or the Unlimited exhibition at the Southbank Centre showcasing disability arts. You can also watch events on outdoor screens at the London Live sites, and don’t miss the Visit London blog for all the latest events news.

So, from Disability Horizons, enjoy the Games!

By Liz Ransome

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