A Paralympic legacy? British newspaper representations of the Paralympic movement during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games


  • Rory Alexander Flindall Olympic Studies Centre & Institute of Sport History, German Sport University Cologne


Paralympic media representations, Paralympic Movement, Paralympians, British media analysis, new media


Positioned within the assertion that the media’s products can reflect public perceptions on account of newsworthiness and a desire to generate economic capital, this study set out to evaluate the British media’s representations of the Paralympic Movement during the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. To achieve this, a quantitative and qualitative content analysis was conducted on articles relating to the Paralympic Movement published online by the four UK national newspapers of The Independent, the Mirror, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail. The resultant key findings included that 1) many of the commonly referenced portrayals of Paralympians are still present within Paralympic reporting, 2) the Paralympic Movement/Games was positioned both as significant within world sport/politics and inferior to its Olympic counterparts, 3) the frequency of coverage was inequitable, and 4) evidence existed for new media shifts such as the sexualisation of Paralympians. Situating these within contexts specific to the UK and that of the medium under investigation, the overall determination was that while improvements have occurred within Paralympic coverage further evidence is required to speak of a Paralympic media legacy resulting from the 2012 London Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Author Biography

Rory Alexander Flindall, Olympic Studies Centre & Institute of Sport History, German Sport University Cologne

Rory Flindall is a PhD candidate and Lecturer of the German Sport University Cologne’s (GSU) Olympic Studies Centre and Institute of Sport History. Since completing his postgraduate studies in (M.Sc.) Sport Management at the GSU (2014-2016), Rory has devoted his attention to further progressing his academic career. The topic of his doctoral studies constitutes the Paralympic Movement and the role of the media. In addition to this, Rory assumes the position of co-coordinator of the M.A. Olympic Studies.






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