2012 Summer Paralympics
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 athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), that took place in London, England from 29 August to 9 September 2012. These Paralympics were one of the largest multi-sport events ever 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, with fourteen countries appearing in the Paralympics for the first time ever. A total of 503 events in 20 sports were held during these games; for the first time since their suspension after the 2000 Paralympics, events for the intellectually disabled were also held in selected sports.
The lead-up to these games prominently emphasized the return of the Paralympic movement to its spiritual birthplace: in 1948, the British village of
Summer Paralympic Games
XIV Paralympiad (2012)
Rio de Janeiro
- London 2012 on the International Paralympic Committee website
- Official Site of the 2012 Summer Paralympics (Archived)
During the women's class F35/36 discus competition, an error in scoring caused the wrong medals to be presented. In this combined class event, final standings were determined based on a points calculation. The calculation converted distances thrown into points, to account for the different functional impairments of the participating athletes. Due to an error in the scoring system, the gold medal in the event was originally awarded to Ukrainian athlete Mariia Pomazan. When the mistake was discovered, the recalculated points showed that Chinese athlete Wu Qing had finished first, with Pomazan in second place. A second medal ceremony was held, which Pomazan did not attend in protest. She was eventually required to return her gold medal.
Women's discus medals
NBC's lack of 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." NBC acquired the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Paralympic Games in September 2013; the broadcaster vowed to air a relatively larger amount of Paralympic coverage from Sochi and Rio de Janeiro respectively—in particular, NBC and NBCSN are to air at least 66 hours from Rio. Craven praised NBC's decision to devote a relatively larger amount of airtime to future Paralympics, sharing his hope that U.S. audiences would be "as captivated and emotionally enthralled as the billions around the world who tuned in to London 2012 last summer."
In the United States, NBC Sports held the broadcast rights to both the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. NBC had been frequently criticised in past years by American athletes and IPC officials for its minimal coverage of past Paralympics, and it was speculated by critics that NBC's history of inadequate coverage may have impacted New York City's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. In 2008, it did not air any coverage while the Games were in progress (neither live or delayed), choosing to air a recap documentary on NBC in November 2008, followed by a week of highlights on Universal Sports. While relatively larger than its Beijing coverage, NBC produced only five-and-a-half hours of specials featuring tape delayed highlights of the Games; most of them aired on pay-TV channel NBCSN, while the last aired on NBC a week following the conclusion of the Games. No coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies, nor any live coverage, was provided. 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, and NBC itself had provided extensive coverage of the London Olympics, which ranked among the most-watched events in the history of U.S. television.
American television coverage
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.
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, drawing comparisons to similar complaints faced by NBC during the Olympics' opening ceremony (although unlike the BBC, who televised the Olympics in the United Kingdom, both NBC and Channel 4 are commercially-supported networks). Complaints noted that Channel 4 had shown five ad breaks within the first hour of the ceremony, and that ironically, it had recently broadcast a six-hour long late-night dance music special with no adverts at all. Channel 4 defended the criticism by stating that it had broadcast "significantly fewer" commercials than normal for primetime programming during the ceremony, and that the ad breaks were needed in order to help the channel invest in broadcasting programming such as the Paralympics. Criticism was also made towards comments made by Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy during the telecast; Snow was criticized for making comments about war-torn countries during the parade of nations, while Guru-Murthy received similar criticism for quipping that "looking at the ages of these athletes, which have been helpfully provided to us, they're really quite old."
British television coverage
A minor incident occurred involving blind Member of Parliament 
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.
 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
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.
The role of IT company Atos as a technology provider and official sponsor of the Paralympic 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 hypocritical for Atos to sponsor a sporting event for the disabled whilst simultaneously operating a programme that has negatively affected their lives. UK Uncut, a political group opposed to public-service budget cuts, held a series of protests dubbed "The Atos Games" to coincide with the start of the Paralympics, culminating with joint demonstrations with Disabled People Against Cuts outside the London headquarters of both Atos and the Department for Work and Pensions on 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."
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 open described video was simulcast by AMI-tv, a network which broadcasts programming with accommodations for those who are visually or hearing impaired, carried by all pay TV providers in Canada by law. 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.
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".
Channel 4's coverage of the Games was billed as the most extensive Paralympic coverage ever broadcast in the United Kingdom; it promised 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). The broadcaster also invested around £600,000 towards training new on-air personalities with expertise in disability sports for the Games, many of whom were disabled themselves—they would also be joined by Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow, and BBC Sport personality Clare Balding. Channel 4 also broadcast supplemental programming to lead towards the Games, such as Paralympic-focused documentaries, other IPC championships, and That Paralympic Show, a weekly program focusing on disability sports. During the Games, comedian Adam Hills (who himself was born without a right leg, and hosted the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's coverage of the Beijing Paralympics) would host The Last Leg, a Paralympic-themed late night talk show following the conclusion of each night's coverage. Channel 4's coverage of the Games drew relatively high viewership; its coverage of the opening ceremony was seen by an average of 7.6 million viewers, a 40% share, and peaked at 11.2 million viewers—making it one of Channel 4's most-watched programmes in network history. Primetime coverage saw an average of 3.3 million viewers nightly, while viewership peaked at 4.5 million viewers during the men's T44 200m final where Alan Oliveira beat Oscar Pistorius for the gold medal. Its coverage of the closing ceremony peaked at 7.7 million viewers.
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 games were to be broadcast on television in the United Kingdom by Channel 4, replacing long-time Paralympic broadcaster BBC in a £9 million deal; the BBC still held radio rights, with coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra. The IPC webcasted approximately 780 hours of its coverage through its YouTube channel, with four streams of coverage in English and one in Spanish.
|17||Natalie Du Toit||Swimming||3||1||0|
|Sarah Louise Rung||Swimming||2||2||0|
|25||Summer Ashley Mortimer||Swimming||2||1||1|
|32||Zhang Bian||Table tennis||2||0||0|
|Liu Jing||Table tennis||2||0||0|
|Ma Lin||Table tennis||2||0||0|
|Lei Lina||Table tennis||2||0||0|
|Feng Panfeng||Table tennis||2||0||0|
|Esther Vergeer||Wheelchair tennis||2||0||0|
|Zhou Ying||Table tennis||2||0||0|
|3||Great Britain (GBR)*||34||43||43||120|
|6||United States (USA)||31||29||38||98|
|Total (75 NPCs)||503||503||516||1522|
Host NPC (Great Britain)
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.
This table is based on the medal count of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The official schedule was published on 25 August 2011.
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.
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 procedure involving "sports intelligence" testing to better determine eligibility.
The programme of the 2012 Summer Paralympics featured events in 20 sports. The number of events in each sport is noted in parentheses.
|Participating National Paralympic Committees (number of athletes)|
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.
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.
London 2012 had the largest number of athletes and participating nations of any Paralympic Games. A total of 4,302 athletes from 164 countries competed in the Games. This represented an increase of 291 athletes and 18 countries from the 2008 Games, which had 4,011 athletes from 146 countries.