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Wednesday, September 17, 2008 

The other winners.

You probably won't have noticed, but the Paralympics are over and Team GB (sic) has finished second in the medals table, behind only China, having won 102 medals, including 42 golds.

I say you won't have noticed, because the coverage has been absolutely abysmal. For all the hype and glamour of the original Olympics, with almost 12 hours or more of coverage some days on BBC1, the Paralympics have had to make to do with an hour long highlights show, if that, on BBC2 in the evening. As for coverage on the actual news or even in the sports sections of the broadsheets, you may as well have forgotten about it.

At the heart of this it's pretty obvious what's going on, no matter how we try to gloss over it or deny it, so let's face it: no one really cares if spastics win medals, as after all, they're still spastics and they're competing against other spastics. They might use the same equipment, be trained in the exact same places by the exact same people, but they're still never going to enter the public conciousness purely because they're not "normal" individuals taking part in the "normal" events. You'll probably have troubling naming a single athlete that's taken part, and Dame Tanni Grey Thomson has retired so doesn't count. Darren Kenny won four golds and a silver; Dave Roberts picked up four golds; and David Weir for example won four medals, including two golds, but all will still struggle to be remembered even by sports journalists. We will definitely remember Rebecca Adlington and Chris Hoy though, and even more so when they most likely receive honours for their efforts.

If indeed our showing in Beijing during August showed that the claim we were leaving in a broken society was piffle, then the sentiment can be doubled on the back of these achievements. It's just a great shame they won't get the recognition that they undoubtedly deserve. The full list of winners, incidentally, is here.

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To put it even more bluntly.

Our local news did cover Ellie Simmonds and Sasha Kindred and our local paper features a blog from Bronze medal winner Claire Cashmore so at least there's local if not national coverage.

Thanks for this post. Here's my reaction to the contrast in coverage: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2346

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