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Paris Paralympics 2024: Elevating Disability Rights and Global Perceptions

The upcoming Paris Paralympics are anticipated to provide a significant boost to the movement, similar to the transformative impact of the 2012 London Games. Organizers are hopeful that the event will elevate the rights of disabled individuals to a global priority.

Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), expressed that the Games, starting 100 days after the Olympics on August 28, are expected to reshape global perceptions of people with disabilities. Parsons emphasized the importance of putting disability rights back on the global agenda, highlighting that this issue has been overshadowed by topics like gender identity in recent years.

Parsons noted that the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation for individuals with disabilities, as many health systems failed to meet their needs. He stated that the pandemic severely affected individuals with disabilities, revealing shortcomings in healthcare systems worldwide.

The Paris Paralympics symbolize a return to normalcy, with spectators allowed to attend, unlike the largely empty venues of the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games. Parsons believes that the Paris setting, with events near iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais, will captivate global audiences.

The IPC expects the television viewership for Paris to exceed the 4.1 billion who watched the Tokyo Paralympics, benefiting from more favorable viewing times for European and American audiences. While acknowledging that London 2012 set a high standard for Paralympic sports, Parsons is confident that the level of competition has significantly improved since then.

Facade of the town hall of Paris, France, decorated for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Paris is the host city of the 2024 Summer Olympics
Shutterstock – Facade of the town hall of Paris, France, decorated for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024.

Parsons highlighted the growing interest in Paralympic sports, noting that events like wheelchair basketball and five-a-side football have become faster and more physical, with more teams competing at a high level.

To boost ticket sales, Paris organizers launched an advertising campaign. So far, 300,000 tickets have been sold to the public, with another 600,000 acquired by public sector organizations and the Olympic and Paralympic committees. Parsons is optimistic about reaching the sales figures achieved in London 2012 and Rio 2016, where millions of tickets were sold in the final weeks before the Games.

Parsons emphasized that the Paralympics are not just about sports but also about changing perceptions. The event aims to inspire and demonstrate that athletes with disabilities can achieve extraordinary feats, ultimately striving to change the world by altering perceptions.

However, the Games are not expected to make the Paris Metro system more accessible to wheelchair users. French law requires that if one station is modified for accessibility, all stations on that line must also be upgraded. To mitigate this, a thousand specially adapted taxis will be available, and public buses will be equipped to accommodate wheelchair users.

Click here to view original article at Fox28 Spokane.

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