|XIV Paralympic Games|
|Host city||London, United Kingdom|
|Motto||Inspire a Generation|
|Events||503 in 20 sports[disputed ]|
|Opening ceremony||29 August|
|Closing ceremony||9 September|
|Officially opened by||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Paralympic Torch||Margaret Maughan|
|Paralympic Stadium||London Olympic Stadium|
|Part of a series on|
The 2012 Summer Paralympics, the fourteenth Summer Paralympic Games, and also more generally known as the London 2012 Paralympic Games, were a major international multi-sport event for the disabled governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), that took place in London, UK, from 29 August to 9 September. These Paralympics were one of the largest multi-sport events ever to held in the United Kingdom after the 2012 Summer Olympics, and were the largest Paralympics ever: 4,302 athletes from 164 National Paralympic Committees participated.
The games marked the return of the Paralympic movement to its spiritual birthplace: in 1948, the British village of Stoke Mandeville first hosted the Stoke Mandeville Games, an athletics event for disabled British veterans of the Second World War held to coincide with the opening of the Summer Olympics in London. They were the first-ever organised sporting event for disabled athletes, and served as a precursor to the modern Paralympic Games. Stoke Mandeville also co-hosted the 1984 Summer Paralympics with Long Island, New York, after its original host, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, pulled out due to financial issues.
Organisers expected the Games to be the first Paralympics to achieve mass-market appeal, fuelled by continued enthusiasm from the British public following the country's successful performance at the Summer Olympics, awareness of the United Kingdom's role in the history of the Paralympics, and growing media coverage of Paralympic sport. The games ultimately met these expectations, breaking records for ticket sales, heightening the profile of the Paralympics in relation to the Olympics, and prompting IPC president Philip Craven to declare them the "greatest Paralympic Games ever."
- 1 Bidding process
- 2 Development and preparation
- 2.1 Venues and infrastructure
- 2.2 Public transport
- 2.3 Test events
- 2.4 Lead-up and promotion
- 2.5 Torch relay
- 2.6 Ticketing
- 2.7 Logo
- 2.8 Mascots
- 2.9 Opening ceremony
- 2.10 Closing ceremony
- 3 The Games
- 4 Broadcasting
- 5 Controversies
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
As part of a formal agreement between the International Paralympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee established in 2001, the winner of the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics was also to host the 2012 Summer Paralympics. At the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, the rights to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were awarded to London.
|2012 Summer Olympics bidding results|
|City||NOC||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|New York City||United States||19||16||—||—|
Development and preparation
As with the Olympics, the 2012 Summer Paralympics were overseen by LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). LOCOG was responsible for overseeing the staging of the games, while the ODA dealt with infrastructure and venues.
The Government Olympic Executive (GOE) within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was the lead Government body for co-ordinating the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The GOE reported through the DCMS Permanent Secretary to the Minister for Sports and the Olympics Hugh Robertson. It focused on oversight of the Games, cross-programme management and the London 2012 Olympic Legacy.
Venues and infrastructure
The 2012 Summer Paralympics used many of the same venues as the 2012 Summer Olympics, along with several new locations such as Eton Manor for wheelchair tennis and Brands Hatch for road cycling. London's purpose-built Olympic venues and facilities, including the Olympic Village itself, were designed to be accessible as possible so they could easily accommodate the Paralympics. Some venues also contained additional accessible seating areas during the Paralympics.
Transport for London operated the Paralympic Route Network (a downsized version of the Olympic Route Network operated during the Summer Olympics) to facilitate road traffic between venues and facilities. The network provided 8.7 miles (14.0 kilometres) of lanes specifically reserved for Paralympic athletes and officials. TfL continued to operate its Get Ahead of the Games website during the Paralympics, which provided updates and advice for commuters during the Games. Prior to the Games, concerns were raised by TfL commissioner Peter Hendy that London's transportation system might not be able to handle the Paralympics adequately. He feared that the end of the school summer holiday (which fell during the Games) would result in increased traffic, and that commuters might not heed traffic warnings or change their travel behaviour as they had during the Olympics.
Sevenoaks railway station was designated as the preferred station for spectators travelling to watch the cycling at Brands Hatch. Organisers chose Sevenoaks over the closer Swanley railway station because of its "existing step-free access and excellent transport links", and because Swanley did not yet have a wheelchair lift. Whilst organisers did not believe that Swanley would be able to have wheelchair lifts installed by the start of the Paralympics, the station finished their installation by early August 2012.
Several Paralympics-specific events were held during the London Prepares series of test events for the Olympic and Paralympic Games; these included the London International Goalball Tournament, and the London Disability Grand Prix—which was also the first Paralympic event to be held at London's Olympic Stadium.
Lead-up and promotion
The formal handover occurred during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, when Mayor of London Boris Johnson received the Paralympic Flag from Mayor of Beijing Guo Jinlong. This was followed by a cultural presentation by Britain, which was similar to its presentation during the Olympics' closing ceremony. It featured urban dance group ZooNation, the Royal Ballet, and Candoco, a physically integrated dance group, all dressed as London commuters and waiting for a bus by a zebra crossing. A double-decker bus drove around the stadium, guided by Ade Adepitan, to music composed by Philip Sheppard. The top of the bus was open and folded down to show a privet hedge featuring London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, The Gherkin and the London Eye. Cherisse Osei, drummer for Mika, and Sam Hegedus then performed, before the top of the bus folded up into its original form, sporting multi-coloured Paralympic livery. Both the Paralympic and Olympic flags were formally raised outside of London's City Hall on 26 September 2008. British Paralympians Helene Raynsford and Chris Holmes raised the Paralympic flag.
Paralympic Day and Super Saturday
On 8 September 2011 Trafalgar Square staged International Paralympic Day, hosted by Rick Edwards, Ade Adepitan and Iwan Thomas, to coincide with a visit to London by representatives of the IPC. The event celebrated the Paralympic Games, showcasing and demonstrating the 20 sports that would feature during the Games (with some sessions also made inclusive to people with hearing disabilities). It also featured appearances by Paralympic athletes Oscar Pistorius (of whom a bronze statue by Ben Dearnley was unveiled as well), Ellie Simmonds and Sascha Kindred. British Prime Minister David Cameron and London's mayor Boris Johnson also appeared. Two days later on 10 September, supermarket chain Sainsbury's and Channel 4 presented Sainsbury's Super Saturday, a family event at Clapham Common. The event featured showcases of Paralympic sports, and a concert featuring pop music acts including Nicola Roberts, Olly Murs, The Wanted, Will Young, Pixie Lott, Dappy, Sugababes, The Saturdays, Chipmunk and Taio Cruz.
Channel 4 television advert
To promote Channel 4's role as the official television broadcaster of the Games in the UK, Tom Tagholm (with input from the British Paralympic Association's Tim Hollingsworth) directed a two-minute long trailer for its coverage entitled Meet the Superhumans. The advert aimed to change the public's view of the Paralympics, encouraging viewers to see the Games as an "event in its own right" rather than as an afterthought to the Olympics. Set to Public Enemy's song "Harder Than You Think", the advert focused on the competitive and "superhuman" aspects of Paralympic sport, while acknowledging the personal events and struggles that reflected every athlete's participation in the Games. "Meet the Superhumans" premiered on 17 July 2012, and aired simultaneously as a "roadblock" advert on 78 different commercial television channels in the UK (which included rival channels ITV1 and Sky1).
The advert was met with critical acclaim: Adweek's Tim Nudd declared it "the summer's most stunning sports commercial", while Simon Usborne of The Independent felt it was "an act of branding genius" and "a clear bid to bring the Paralympics from the sporting wings to centre stage." The advert was seen by an estimated audience of 10 million viewers; Channel 4's marketing and communications chief Dan Brooke estimated that reaction to the advert through social media was double that of the première of the BBC's trailer for its Olympics coverage.
Meet the Superhumans won a Golden Lion award at the Cannes Lions Festival in June 2013, losing the overall award to Dumb Ways to Die. Sir John Hegarty, the jury president said of it: "When you've got some really outstanding work it is tragic in some ways it can't get a bigger award, but there can only be one grand prix", while jury member Carlo Cavallone added "[Meet the Superhumans] is an amazing campaign, one of the golds that went through [the judging process] immediately ... Everyone felt it had the highest level of craft. It puts an issue that was really important before London 2012 to raise awareness of the Paralympics [and] they were hyper successful … Dumb Ways to Die was a tough contender."
Royal Mail stamps and gold post boxes
In August 2009 Royal Mail unveiled a series of 30 stamps (reflecting the 30th Olympiad) about the coming Olympic and Paralympic Games. They were released in batches of ten between 2009 and July 2011; each stamp featured an Olympic or Paralympic sport and the London 2012 logo.
Royal Mail honoured Britain's Paralympic gold medallists by painting a post box gold in each of their home towns (along with an additional post box outside the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville, in honour of its role in the Games), and also featured them on commemorative stamps released throughout the Games—as it had done during the Olympics. Royal Mail originally planned only to release a series of six stamps with group portraits of Britain's medallists; however, the decision was met with backlash from critics, who argued that the organization was discriminating against Paralympians by not granting them the same individual recognition as their Olympian counterparts. Olympic shadow minister Tessa Jowell was also critical of Royal Mail's plan, saying that the stamps were a symbolic aspect of Britain's celebration of the Olympics and that "it would be a shame if this important symbol was not offered to our Paralympian heroes as well."
Royal Mail initially defended its decision, arguing that it would have been "logistically and practically impossible" to issue individual stamps for each gold medallist, since it expected the British team to meet or exceed its performance at Beijing of 42 gold medals. As a result of the criticism, Royal Mail announced on 15 August 2012 that it would release individual stamps for each British Paralympic gold medallist.
The Paralympic torch relay began on 22 August, when groups of disabled and non-disabled scouts kindled four Paralympic flames on the highest peaks of each nation of the United Kingdom; Scafell Pike in England, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, and Snowdon in Wales. On 24 August the four flames were used to light ceremonial cauldrons in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff during special "Flame Festival" events; smaller "Flame Celebration" events were also held in various communities over the bank holiday weekend.
On 28 August the four flames were united during a ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. The flame then travelled a 92-mile (148-kilometre) route to Olympic Stadium in a 24-hour relay, with 580 torchbearers working in teams of five. After a two-hour weather delay, a backup flame was taken straight to the stadium as a contingency, and the relay route was modified. However, as the opening ceremony's parade of nations took longer than expected, the flame was able to arrive at Olympic Stadium in time.
2.7 million tickets were offered in total, including event-specific tickets and those granting access solely to the Olympic Park, along with multi-event passes offered for ExCeL London and Olympic Park that were intended to allow spectators to discover a variety of Paralympic events. Unlike previous Paralympics, tickets were in extremely high demand, and the ticket allocation was increased from the originally planned 2.5 million. Whilst the period during the Olympics has historically been the busiest for Paralympic sales, 1.4 million tickets were already sold before the start of the Summer Olympics, already surpassing the total number sold in Sydney. The high demand resulted in technical issues with the Ticketmaster-operated website, which led to complaints via social networking services by users who were struggling to order.
Organisers expected the first ever sell-out in the history of the Paralympics. LOCOG's chief executive Paul Deighton remarked that "the interest in attending the Paralympics has been extraordinary from the start." This success was attributed to the enthusiasm surrounding Great Britain's performance during the Olympics, fan interest in South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius (a Paralympic athlete who was the first ever double amputee to compete in the Olympics), and affordable prices.
On 8 August LOCOG announced that 2.1 million tickets had been sold (600,000 in the previous month alone), breaking the record of 1.8 million set in Beijing (1.6 million tickets were also distributed by the Chinese government). IPC president Philip Craven congratulated London for this achievement, crediting it to "the insatiable appetite the public has for top class elite sport", and noted it would be fitting for a Paralympics held in its spiritual birthplace to have filled venues. By the opening ceremony, 2.4 million had been sold, with the remaining 100,000 sold during the Games; 10,000 were offered each day. The last 800 tickets to the Opening Ceremony were distributed to police and the military, while Mayor Boris Johnson arranged for the distribution of 1,100 to members of London's youth athletics clubs. Due to popular demand, a further 100,000 contingency tickets were released on 6 September (which included multi-event passes, and event tickets given up by sponsors and partners), along with 100,000 giving access solely to the Olympic Park.
The 2012 Summer Paralympics used an emblem sharing a common design with that of the Summer Olympics—the first time this had ever been done. The logo, designed by Wolff Olins, was unveiled on 4 June 2007, and is a representation of the number 2012. The Paralympic version has its own distinct colour scheme, and substitutes the Olympic Rings with the Paralympic "agitos".
The official mascot of the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games, Mandeville, was unveiled alongside its Olympic counterpart Wenlock on 19 May 2010. As characters, they are portrayed drops of steel from a steelworks in Bolton, and feature singular camera eyes—representing "focus" and the cameras being used to capture the Games. Mandeville is named in honour of Stoke Mandeville Hospital due to its significance in the origins of the Paralympics. Mandeville also wears a helmet emblazoned in the red, green, and blue colours of the Paralympic emblem.
The opening ceremony was held on 29 August at the Olympic Stadium. It was inspired by William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" and themed around the concept of "Enlightenment". It featured appearances by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, along with actors Ian McKellen and Nicola Miles-Wildin playing the roles of Prospero and Miranda from "The Tempest". The ceremony also featured a performance by British electronic music group Orbital. The leading UK disabled theatre company Graeae played their version of the polio survivor Ian Dury's 1981 protest song 'Spasticus Autisticus'.
The final bearers of the Paralympic flame represented several generations of Paralympic athletes. Joe Townsend, a Royal Marine who lost both of his legs after stepping on a land mine on duty in Afghanistan (who represented the future, as he plans to compete in Rio), delivered the flame to Olympic Stadium via a zipline from the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower. He passed the flame to long-time British Five-a-side football captain David Clarke, who then passed it to the lighter of the Paralympic cauldron, Margaret Maughan, who was the winner of Britain's first gold medal at the first official Paralympics, in Rome.
The closing ceremony was held on 9 September at the Olympic Stadium. The ceremony featured sequences representing the four seasons set to a live performance by the British rock band Coldplay. The band was also accompanied by guest performers, including the British Paraorchestra (who accompanied Coldplay on "Strawberry Swing" and performed the Paralympic anthem), Barbadian singer Rihanna (who performed her collaboration with Coldplay, "Princess of China", and her solo hit "We Found Love") and American rapper Jay-Z (who performed "Run This Town" with Rihanna and Coldplay, and joined in a reprise of "Paradise"). To mark its hosting of the 2016 Summer Paralympics, the Paralympic flag was passed from Boris Johnson, Mayor of London to Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro. LOCOG chief Sebastian Coe and IPC president Philip Craven both congratulated London for its successful hosting of the Paralympics; Coe was proud that both the Olympics and Paralympics in London could be labelled "Made in Britain", while Sir Phillip felt that the Games were the "greatest Paralympic Games ever." Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock shared the honour of extinguishing the Paralympic cauldron, sharing its last flame on torches to others throughout the stadium to represent its eternal spirit.
London 2012 had the largest number of athletes and participating nations of any Paralympic Games. A total of 4,302 athletes competed in the Games, an increase of 291 from the 2008 Games. They represented 164 countries, 18 more than in Beijing.
Fourteen countries made their Paralympic début: Antigua and Barbuda, Brunei, Cameroon, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mozambique, North Korea, San Marino, the Solomon Islands and the US Virgin Islands. Trinidad and Tobago returned to the Games for the first time since 1988.
Andorra made its début in the Summer Paralympics, having already made three appearances at the Winter Paralympics. Malawi, which would have been making its debut at the Games, and Botswana, were both due to send delegations but withdrew hours before the opening ceremony citing a lack of government funds.
The programme of the 2012 Summer Paralympics featured events in 20 sports. The number of events in each sport is noted in parentheses.
Events for athletes with intellectual disabilities (ID class) returned to the Paralympics in athletics, swimming, table tennis for the first time since 2000. ID events had been suspended following the 2000 Summer Paralympics, after the Spanish basketball team was stripped of their gold medals when it was found that only 2 of their 12 team members actually suffered from intellectual disability. The IPC would impose higher scrutiny on intellectually disabled athletes in London, and also implemented a new testing procedure to better determine eligibility.
Also beginning in 2012, sighted guides became eligible to receive medals in certain events; sighted goalkeepers in 5-a-side football, along with guides and pilots in athletics and cycling were now able to receive medals for their contributions. Previously in the case of tandem cycling, where a visually-impaired rider takes the rear of the bike with a sighted pilot in front, only the visually-impaired rider actually received a medal.
The official schedule was published on 25 August 2011.
|●||Opening ceremony||Event competitions||●||Event finals||●||Closing ceremony|
|August / September 2012||29
|Total event finals||28||40||49||59||51||54||64||47||48||57||6||503|
|August / September 2012||29
This table is based on the medal count of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The ranking is sorted primarily by the number of gold medals earned by a National Paralympic Committee (NPC). The number of silver medals is taken into consideration next and then the number of bronze medals. If countries are still tied, equal ranking is given and they are listed alphabetically by IPC Country Code.
Host NPC (Great Britain)
|01 !1||China (CHN)||95||71||65||231|
|02 !2||Russia (RUS)||36||38||28||102|
|03 !3||Great Britain (GBR)*||34||43||43||120|
|04 !4||Ukraine (UKR)||32||24||28||84|
|05 !5||Australia (AUS)||32||23||30||85|
|06 !6||United States (USA)||31||29||38||98|
|07 !7||Brazil (BRA)||21||14||8||43|
|08 !8||Germany (GER)||18||26||22||66|
|09 !9||Poland (POL)||14||13||9||36|
|Total (75 NPCs)||503||503||516||1522|
Broadcast rights to the 2012 Summer Paralympics were sold to local broadcasters by LOCOG, with production of the world feeds sub-contracted to Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS). The Games saw a significant growth in media coverage for the Paralympics; LOCOG reached deals with over 36 broadcasters to televise the Games in over 100 countries. LOCOG chief Sebastian Coe stated that "beyond how the commercial value of this package has raised the bar financially for the Paralympic movement, the fantastic broadcast coverage we have agreed will help us take advantage of this opportunity to inspire disabled people of all ages to take up sport and be a catalyst for continued change in public attitudes towards disability." LOCOG reached deals with broadcasters such as China Central Television, the Korean Broadcasting System, NHK, Rede Globo and SporTV in Brazil, the TV Pool (a consortium of free-to-air broadcasters in Thailand consisting of Channel 3, Channel 5, BBTV Channel 7, and Modernine TV), and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to air coverage. The IPC webcasted approximately 780 hours of its coverage through its YouTube channel, with four streams of coverage in English and one in Spanish.
The Games were broadcast locally in the United Kingdom by Channel 4, replacing the BBC, who had broadcast the Paralympics since 1980. Channel 4's coverage was billed as the most extensive coverage of the Paralympics ever aired in the United Kingdom, promising over 150 hours of live coverage throughout the Games on Channel 4 and sister channel More4, and additional coverage online and through special channels carried by Freesat, Sky and Virgin TV (in both standard and high definition). As a lead-up to the Games, Channel 4 broadcast documentary specials surrounding the Paralympics, and also premiered That Paralympic Show, a weekly program focusing on disability sports, and The Last Leg, a comedy show hosted by Adam Hills which aired nightly following Paralympics coverage. Hills himself was born without a right leg, wearing a prosthesis, and has frequently used his experiences with disabilities as an aspect of his humour. Radio coverage was provided by the BBC on its radio channels BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. Channel 4's coverage of the opening ceremony peaked at an average of 7.6 million viewers, a 40% share.
Similarly extensive coverage was televised by RTVE in Spain, with approximately 150 hours of live coverage on Teledeporte and TVE HD. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired over 100 hours of coverage across its networks during the Paralympics, with coverage on both ABC1 and ABC2. Coverage of the Games set viewership records for ABC, peaking at 1.6 million viewers on average (in comparison to 1.3 million in Beijing), while ABC2 peaked at a 4.7% viewership share, beating competing digital networks. ABC's coverage was also nominated for a Logie Award for "Moat Popular Sports Program".
In the United States, NBC Sports provided five-and-a-half hours of coverage in total, and no live coverage. Pay TV channel NBC Sports Network aired one-hour highlight shows on 4, 5, 6 and 11 September while NBC broadcast a special recapping the Games on 16 September – a week following their conclusion. The United States Olympic Committee provided additional coverage through its own digital outlets. Critics and American athletes expressed disappointment at NBC for its decision not to broadcast any live coverage of the Games, continuing the broadcaster's trend of providing minimal coverage for the Paralympics. In Canada, TSN (English) and RDS (French) produced daily hour-long highlight programs (some of which were aired by CTV Television), while tape-delayed airings of the opening ceremony were carried by Sportsnet One, TSN2, RDS, and RDS2. Coverage with described video was simulcast by AMI-tv. AMI-tv also broadcast supplemental programming, such as a daily news program from London and a documentary series focusing on Canadian athletes at the Paralympics.
The role of IT company Atos as a technology provider and official sponsor of the Games was criticised by disability-rights groups, due to its contract with Britain's Department for Work and Pensions to carry out work capability assessments, which determine eligibility for disability benefits. They argued that Atos's programme had lacked integrity and was intended to help cut government spending, since the assessments have resulted in many disabled workers being incorrectly judged as "fit for work" and denied benefits. Therefore, the groups considered it inappropriate for Atos to sponsor a sporting event for the disabled whilst simultaneously operating a programme that has negatively affected their lives. The protest group UK Uncut, which is opposed to public-service budget cuts, held a series of protests dubbed "The Atos Games" to coincide with the start of the Paralympics, which included a protest outside the London headquarters of Atos and the Department for Work and Pensions in 31 August 2013. Speaking at the protests, comedian Jeremy Hardy said that the programme's intent to "victimise people with disabilities" was "blatant and shameless."
During the opening ceremony some British athletes reportedly obscured the Atos logo on their accreditation passes in protest of their involvement. However, an official from the British Paralympic Association denied that this had been the case. LOCOG defended Atos's involvement, stating that the company was "a critical and valued member of [the companies] delivering these Games", due to the technologies it has provided, which included information systems for managing volunteers and distributing event results.
Controversy arose about seating rules for wheelchair users, after two disabled mothers accused LOCOG of having discriminatory policies. One claimed she had been told by a LOCOG staff member that spectators in a wheelchair area at the Velodrome could only be accompanied by one adult, and children could not attend without being accompanied by another able-bodied adult, while another was told that her ability to sit in a wheelchair area with her children at ExCeL London was "not guaranteed." A petition for improved access for disabled families, started by one of the mothers on Change.org, quickly collected over 30,000 signatures. LOCOG denied having discriminatory policies, stating that disabled parents could steward their children in wheelchair seating areas at events with unreserved seats, but may not all be able to sit together at events with reserved seating.
LOCOG faced further criticism for how it handled the sale of tickets for the wheelchair areas within venues. In May 2012 the online sale of tickets for wheelchair areas was replaced by a dedicated telephone hotline. Organisers were criticised for their use of an 0844 revenue share number for this hotline, and for neglecting to mention on its ticketing website that calls would be charged by the minute. Former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe viewed this as discrimination against wheelchair users, and called upon LOCOG to compensate those who had used the hotline. LOCOG denied that it was receiving additional profits from the phone line, and claimed that a dedicated line was being used to allow customers to receive a service tailored to their individual accessibility needs.
A minor incident occurred involving blind Member of Parliament David Blunkett, who was attending the opening ceremony alongside a Channel 4 director. Blunkett was denied access to his seat at Olympic Stadium because there was no room for his guide dog, and had to watch the ceremony from seats in the stadium's gantry instead. However, Blunkett noted that this was an isolated incident and chose not to make an issue of it, simply advising organisers to "seek to find a solution rather than impose a preconceived notion of what is or is not possible."
British television coverage
British official broadcaster Channel 4 received some criticism for its coverage of the Paralympics. Users of Twitter complained that its coverage of the opening ceremony contained too many commercial breaks (and drew comparisons to similar complaints faced by NBC during the Olympics' opening ceremony), while the commentary of Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy (including their remarks about war-torn countries during the parade of nations) was also met with poor reception. Channel 4 argued that it was broadcasting "signifigantly fewer" commercials than normal during the ceremony.
Channel 4 was also accused of showing too many studio segments during the first few days of the Games rather than live events, and for missing several notable events involving British athletes, including a swimming heat where Eleanor Simmonds set a new personal best and almost beat the world record, Sarah Storey winning her eleventh Paralympic medal, and Great Britain's opening wheelchair basketball game against Germany. Channel 4 noted that time was needed during the first few days to explain Paralympic events and the classification system to viewers, and that it was operating three additional channels' worth of live coverage throughout the Games. The broadcaster also stated that it had to make editorial decisions on which events to air during periods where a large number of events were in progress. The amount of live coverage was also affected by Olympic Broadcasting Services, who did not send cameras or provide official television coverage for sports such as cycling, the marathon, and shooting. Channel 4's news department did send its own cameramen to film the affected events for highlights, but was unable to broadcast them live.
American television coverage
In the United States, NBC Sports held the broadcast rights to both the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. NBC has been frequently criticised in past years by American athletes and IPC officials for its minimal coverage of past Paralympics, and the broadcaster continued with this practice in London by only planning to air five-and-a-half hours of specials featuring tape delayed highlights (primarily on pay-TV channel NBC Sports Network, the last of which aired a week following the conclusion of the Games on NBC), no live coverage, and no coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies. By contrast, some broadcasters (such as the host broadcasters, and broadcasters in Australia and Spain) planned to air at least 100 hours or more of coverage from London.
NBC's coverage drew the ire of American disability rights groups and IPC president Philip Craven, who expressed his disappointment for American athletes and viewers who were unable to fully experience the games on television. Craven remarked that "some people think that North America always [leads] on everything, and on this they don't. It's about time they caught up." Following the closing ceremonies, Craven hinted that the IPC might exercise greater scrutiny on broadcasters at future Paralympics by stating that "if we find our values don't fit, we'll have to go somewhere else."
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