10th September 2012 - The Paralympics.

I'm aware that I have the tendency of moaning about something in blog entries, and even though this entry is supposed to be positive I still feel the urge to say something negative, and that is that I hated Channel 4's coverage of the Paralympics. Do they really believe that watching presenters speaking back and forth within a television studio is in any way entertaining? Then interrupting it every ten minutes with an ad break that also contained two trailers advertising what you're already watching. They really have no idea how to present sport and it was terribly shabby compared with the BBC's coverage of the Olympics. Then they had the cheek to have a late night show that basically took the piss out of it all. They showed a clip of Lu Dong, a swimmer with no arms climbing out of the swimming pool, and laughing at the way she does it, then clapping as if to congratulate her. The fact that she won gold didn't seem to impress them. One of the Canadian basketball team coaches, Danielle Peers, also moaned online about the coverage stating it was sold like a freak show.

The only positive about Channel 4's coverage was the ability to watch the opening ceremony on More4 with audio description instead of annoying presenters waffling on just to fill air time.

Anyway that's enough of my moaning and I'll try to keep the rest of this entry more positive.

The opening ceremony was far better than I expected it to be, with Stephan Hawking being part of it. There appeared to be a story happening within the ceremony with Ian McKellen narrating, it was difficult to follow but it didn't really matter. I was more interested in the dancing acrobats. The athletes made their way marching into the stadium fairly early into the event which is different than how it's usually done. (Channel 4 kept interrupting it though with comments from the Great Britain team while they waited to enter the stadium.) One of the highlights was when a man with no legs was carried on the end of cables by helicopter which flew over the stadium and hovered so that he was at standing height. That must have taken a lot of practice to pull it off just right.

A woman named Lu Dong won the gold medal for China doing the backwards butterfly. She had no arms and it was an amazing spectacle to watch. I couldn't believe how she was able to do it.

On another swimming event I noticed that they had starting blocks, like in athletic racing, but some competitors started from within the pool. It wasn't explained why some started within the pool and some started on the blocks. One of the competitors did say however, in a light hearted way, that having one foot meant she got no advantage from the starting blocks because she couldn't push against them.

There were other complaints from competitors too. There was one man who was disqualified for a false start but they didn't tell him until the end of the race. He started swearing constanltly then apologised for his outburst later. There was also another man who complained about another competitor using longer springs on his false running legs. There didn't appear to be anyone actually accused of cheating with drugs as far as I know.

The sitting volleyball was fun to watch as well as the wheelchair basketball. One of the main things I noticed about the basketball was there wasn't any floor squeaks with the wheelchairs, unlike all the noises caused with people's footwear.

I never watched the full closing ceremony only bits of it. I loved the steampunk style vehicles and costumes they used. I did hear later that Coldplay sang far too many songs and spoilt it for many people, but I personally missed that part.

Lu Dong won gold on the Butterfly event.

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