Holy shit, you guys. THe Paralympics are in 2 days. Holy motherfucking shit. As a para-athlete, as a disabled person, as a lover of sport, these are the most exciting two weeks in my year.
That said, I get a lot of messages, on here and on facebook and twitter, asking how they can watch and keep up to date with what’s happening, what with the fucking abysmal tv coverage.
Well, friends, this is what this is for.
Your headquarters for everything really ought to be the official Youtube channel for the Paralympics . The Opening Ceremonies and events will al be live streamed there.
But wait!, I hear you say What if I don’t have highspeed internet/want to watch it on tv?
Well, friends, that depends on what country you are in. I have to be honest with you, NBC tends to give notoriously bad coverage to the Paralympics. If you’re American, and you don’t have cable, you’re better off watching online. Their website is here, but note that they will be showing it on their sports channels and not their main, for the most part.
Channel 4 in the UK tends to give excellent coverage, or has for the last few years. Their website is here. If you’re able to, I highly recommend sticking around for The Last Leg, which airs weekly on Channel 4 at 10:30 on Fridays, is hosted by two disabled comedians, and is generally awesome.
CBC has promised ‘more comprehensive coverage than ever before’. They always promise that, so, y’know, we’ll see. Critically, their broadcasts and webcasts are fully accessible and bilingual.
Cool, so now I know where to watch, but what about the rules? What the fuck is G1 Skiing? Why are there like six versions of the same event?
In the Paralympics, individual sports are broken down into different categories.Instead of just downhill skiing, or visually impaired downhill skiing, you get different categories based on the disabilities of the athletes. There are only five sports at the Paralympics, but each sport is broken down into different categories, so you don’t have a blind alpine skier competing against a one legged one.
Different Classifications of Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding
Classification for Nordic Skiing and Biathlon
Rules for Sledge Hockey
Wheelchair Curling Federation Website
….But how? And can I ask that?
You didn’t actually ask a question, but I know what you mean. In the summer Paralympics, most of these questions are along the lines of 'how do athletes without arms get out of the pool?'
‘what happens when the wheelchair athletes fall over?’
‘how do the blind soccer players find the ball?’
(The answers: mad flexibility and skill, if the athlete can’t right themselves but is uninjured gameplay continues until the next whistle unless play is near enough the downed athlete to potentially cause injury, and the ball emits a sound)
Anyway, the answer to these questions are generally found by watching the sport. Watch visually impaired alpine ski long enough, and you’ll pretty quickly figure out how the athletes find their way down the hill (guides are mandatory for low-class players, high-classification players can choose to have one if they choose). And yes, you can ask. My ask box is always open, or you can check out the relevant sport’s official website, which should go a long way to answer your questions.
Paralympians have had to fight to be seen as equals for a long time. After London 2012, Adam Hills said that Beijing 2008 was the first time para-athletes were treated as equals, and that London was the first time we were treated as heroes. We want you to watch. We want you to watch, and cheer, and take sides, and ask questions- just like you did during the Olympics.
Be excited. Be happy. Be inspired to try a new para-sport. Watch.
Reblogging because we’re heading into the thick of it, and I wanted to add the official event schedule. Times are all local, GMT+4.