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In the Olympic charter, the Games—both ‘para-’ and otherwise—are to be accessed by “the widest possible audience,” through the “fullest-coverage by different media.” Yet Sky TV severely inhibited the licensing of content to NZME (Herald) and Fairfax (stuff.co.nz) during the Olympics. The situation is now even worse during the Paralympics. The economic incentive is not there this time around, and finding good media coverage is proving impossible. However, there is still an Olympics going on and it’s as good to watch as it was a month ago. Here is a reviews of the news, to help you on your way:
Stuff: They have gone from a full homepage spread a month ago, to five news stories at the top of their Olympics tab. To be fair, we are in the middle of a hectic news cycle, including the mandatory headlines: “My Accidental Pregnancy” and “Horse Gets Stuck in Aussie Pool”. Ironically, it is easier here to find the schedule for the concluded Olympics than the current Games.
Buzzfeed: Their coverage is awkwardly funny. The interview of the American archer Matt Stutzman, who was born without arms, is case and point. Matt attempts to teach the interviewer how to write with her toes. While picking up a crayon *with his toes* he flips and catches it *with his toes*. It is impressive, but the interviewer melts in overreaction: “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!” in a convincing Sarah Jessica-Parker impersonation. Matt replies with the hilariously sardonic: “I. Don’t. Even. Know. It just happened.” Like we treat the paralympics as a side show.
BBC: The BBC was my go to site for streaming live events of the Olympics: they were the primary contractor. They failed, however, to obtain substantial TV rights to the Paralympics…
Channel Four …They were instead bought by Channel 4. Here you will find, after installing a VPN extension like Hola (essential for all international sports viewing), extensive coverage.
Ultimately, the Paralympics are a crash course in empathy for us ‘walkers’ (and seers and hearers and hand-havers), and a schooling in the ability of the human body. The achievements of New Zealand’s athletes are the perfect cure for our tall poppy syndrome. Hunting out a highlights reel is well worth the time.