Tokyo 2020: The Paralympics and the Media

Through the years, the world of sport has developed and has become more inclusive to a diverse population, far beyond able-bodied, white males. Opportunities have been created to allow participation across cultures, races and abilities. One largely inclusive and growing field in sport that has been developed is para-sport. There are many para-sports, one of which is sitting volleyball.

This week the Canadian women’s national team is hosting the Paralympic sitting volleyball qualifiers in Halifax, Nova Scotia. There are five teams taking part in this international tournament. The game of sitting volleyball is played very similarly to that of stand-up volleyball, with a few modifications. In the 2019 Para Pan Am games, the Canadian Women’s team were the bronze medalists.

Pictured are members of the Canadian Women’s National sitting volleyball team during the competition in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Source: World ParaVolley/Flickr)

With the growing number of athletes involved in para-sport there remains a topic that is often discussed and studied, the media coverage of the Paralympic games. Often times, the way disabled and able-bodied individuals are portrayed in the media vary. This topic was explored through a study conducted in 2018. This study analysed the media coverage and content on para-athletes and para-sport. This study look at the variance in language used when talking about disabled and able-bodied athletes. Often times, focusing more on the athlete’s disability and supercrip imagery. Although this study analysed Para-triathletes and Para-triathlon, I can’t help but wonder how the para-athletes will be represented in the media during and after the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.


Featured Image: Danielle Ellis, the Captain for the Canadian sitting National Volleyball Team (Source: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

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