Back in 1996 I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games which was opened by the then Bill Clinton. The Paralympic Games followed which were opened by the Vice President Al Gore. I remember as a teenager sitting there with my sister asking who is Al Gore? And why wasn’t the President opening the Paralympic Games?
It has been 26 years since those games and Para sport is still seen as second fiddle to mainstream sports, and the the headline by The Telegraph this week just goes to show you how much Para Sport is ignored by mainstream media.
Over the past few months I’ve got to known Hannah Cockroft as she is now the brand ambassador for Snowball which is a brand-new social accessibility app which can be downloaded from Apple and Android under ‘Snowball Community’. It is the equivalent of TripAdvisor for the disabled community.
Getting hold of Hannah has been an absolute nightmare, mainly because she is a professional sports person and her timetable is absolutely crazy and in a weeks time she’ll be at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The world championships are currently taking place and Hannah put out an interesting tweet following the headline from The Telegraph. The Telegraph Womens Sport reported that ‘In the space of 10.67 seconds, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce streaked to a 100m victory that ensured she became the first athlete to win five world titles in the same individual track event’.
Hannah jumped on this really quickly and quite rightly so, saying that she was the first woman athlete to win five world titles in an individual track event, but not only that she is the seven times Paralympic gold medallist.
This headline takes me back to 1996 when the Vice President of the United States opened the Paralympic Games, I am back at my question to my sister why didn’t the President of the United States open the Paralympic Games? It seems that Para sport is like the Vice Presidency everyone knows about it but nobody really takes it seriously especially in mainstream media where they only concentrate on fully able sport rather than Para sports.
I’m curious to think of what the headlines are going to be in a few weeks time when Hannah wins at the Commonwealth Games.
I know personally me and my wife will be cheering Hannah on. I’m just wondering if the mainstream media will be doing the same and recognising that Paralympic and para sports are just as tough and as competitive as able-bodied sports, and making sure that Hannah gets the recognition that she deserves and is not being ignored because someone with two legs has reached the same level as Hannah.
Hanna, we wish you all the best in the Commonwealth Games the media may not support your achievements but the nation does.