The 2012 Paralympic Games are underway, and according to Owen Gibson’s article in The Guardian, Londoners are embracing the event.
“All the tickets are sold out,” Gibson told Bill Littlefield on this week’s Only A Game. “There’s not as much emotion as perhaps there was during the Olympics, but I think people are getting something out of this. It’s true that the public have very much taken to it. People genuinely want to be here. I like to think that it will carry on.”
The 2016 Paralympics will be held in Brazil, and there’s a question of whether the Games’ new found prestige will carry over or whether it’s just the Londoners who are particularly supportive of Paralympians.
There was some controversy this week after former British health minister Edwina Currie described Italian Paralympians as “gorgeous even in wheelchairs.” The reaction in London was, not surprisingly, negative.
“Obviously, it was an ill-advised thing to say, but it also shows the perils of language around this event,” Gibson said. “I tend to think we should be as vigilant as possible, but I think we should also be able to let people come and embrace the event and not be too uptight.”
Many eyes are on South African runner Oscar Pistorius, who will defend his Paralympic titles in the 100, 200, and 400-meter races after becoming the first double amputee to run in the Olympics. “I, for one, think it very much helps the Paralympic movement,” Gibson said. “The more popular he is, the more popular the Paralympics become.