C4 Paralympic Coverage With Two Years To Go

From Phil Lane, Chief Executive ParalympicsGB:

Channel 4 recently held a press conference to highlight its ambitious plans to support the coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Plans were announced for a dedicated weekend of programming to coincide with LOCOG’s  London 2012 Paralympic Games ‘Two Years to Go’ campaign.  The highlight of the weekend’s coverage is a documentary to be broadcast on Sunday 29th August, ‘Inside Incredible Athletes’.  The programme profiles six (see below) athletes who are hoping to represent ParalympicsGB in 2012 and will feature sporting performance sequences filmed against a backdrop of iconic locations around London showing Paralympic sport as it has never been seen before.

To promote ‘Inside Incredible Athletes’, Channel 4 is launching a bold and ambitious marketing campaign which aims to challenge public attitudes towards disability sport.  The campaign is entitled ‘Freaks of Nature’ and features six athletes at the top of their game – Liz Johnson, Stefanie Reid, Steve Brown, Mandip Sehmi, Dave Clarke and Lee Pearson – talking about their extraordinary achievements and talents which set them apart from the rest of us.  

The campaign portrays Paralympians as Channel 4 feels they should be – highly trained, elite athletes who are brilliant in their chosen sports, not because of their disability, but because of their phenomenal talent, dedication and will to win. It deliberately uses language which is regularly applied to outstanding non-disabled athletes and asks the audience to think twice about their perceptions of Paralympians and understand the extraordinary abilities (both mental and physical) that Paralympians develop through their fierce commitment to their sport.

The athletes featured in Inside Incredible Athletes and Paralympic medal-winners, such as Ade Adepitan and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, are excited by the campaign which will set the tone for Channel 4’s coverage over the next two years. 

Phil Lane says that ParalympicsGB is supportive of this campaign and believe it raises an important and legitimate debate.  However, he is inviting any questions or concerns that may arise.

If you have views that you would like put forward to ParalympicsGB please email Annamarie Phelps, Deputy Chairman British Rowing who will pass on your comments.