The lack of live coverage in the United States of the London 2012 Paralympic Games did not go unnoticed by persons with disabilities residing in the U.S. and abroad. While social media was buzzing with criticisms of the lack of planned live TV coverage in the U.S. leading up to and during the Games, not much has been said since. The Inclusive Sport Initiative at the Institute of Human Centered Design is looking to make sure the general population has the opportunity to witness the athleticism of persons with disability through their #HOWCOOLISTHAT initiative.
The power of the mainstream media cannot be underestimated and it is the hope that the outcome of this campaign will be mainstream media coverage of major disability sporting events throughout the world. For more on the initiative please visit their website and social media outlets with the links below.
This campaign will use social media to address mainstream media coverage of disability sports in the United States and worldwide.
The most watched Paralympic Games in the History, London 2012, was broadcast to 3.8 billion people in over 115 countries. The USA, one of the biggest sporting nations in the world and sixth most successful country in the London 2012 Paralympics, didn’t have any live broadcast of any of London 2012 events. This made us think about the leadership position of the United States and all countries in ensuring the visibility of athletes with disabilities. (bold added)
Mainstream media has shown its power in helping create role models, change perceptions of people with disabilities and inspiring other to take part in sports.
The goal of our campaign is to capture videos and pictures of people’s reactions, feelings and thoughts as they watch disability sport videos.
Our aim is to increase awareness about disability sports as part of mainstream sports coverage. By showing and sharing highlights of disability sports, we would like to encourage everyone to share their feelings, thoughts and reactions on social media using #HOWCOOLISTHAT
We are hoping that it will open the dialogue and debate around the coverage of international championships, national competitions and other disability sports event by mainstream media.
Today is the United Nations international Human Right Day. This year’s focus is “Inclusion and the rights to participate in public life.” We chose this date as a symbolic day to launch our campaign.
Through this campaign, we are hoping to help and support all stakeholders working towards the development of a fully inclusive society where everyone has equal right of participation in play, work and any other societal activities.
Full visibility and access to participation in sport for people with disabilities shouldn’t be a dream: #HOWCOOLISTHAT will make it happen.
Aurélie Pankowiak – Inclusive Sports Initiative