Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
London: These will be the biggest, most-watched Paralympic Games of all time, and the man they all want to watch is SA’s Oscar Pistorius.
Over a billion people are expected to tune in to the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics tonight, reported the The Times of London yesterday. On Monday it was announced that the organisers had signed up 11 new broadcasters, including from Latin America, Pakistan, Ireland, Canada and Iran, bringing the total to 36 companies broadcasting the Games to over 100 countries.
The Guardian reported yesterday that of the 70 000 tickets put on sale on Sunday at lunchtime, some 50 000 had already been sold by the opening of business on Monday. This brings the number of tickets sold to 2.3 million, just under the target of 2.5m. Tonight’s three-hour opening ceremony, entitled “Enlightenment”, has been sold out.
“I think that these will be the most accessible Paralympics in terms of coverage and people watching,” said Pistorius at his welcoming conference at the Main Press Centre yesterday. “It’s all about learning, for both able-bodied and disabled. I ran in Athens, and up to the beginning of that year I didn’t know much about the Paralympics. I didn’t know the guys’ names who lined up next to me.
“Four years later in Beijing, they had a full house on most of the days, but I believe the perception was lacking. In the last two or three years I’ve seen such a shift in terms of the understanding of people and how they approach the Games. There’s an understanding of both disability and ability.”
Pistorius will be the face of these Games, just as he was in Beijing and, to a lesser extent, in Athens, when he burst on to the scene breaking the world record and winning gold in the 200m sprint.
Natalie du Toit captured the imagination of the world in Athens and in Beijing, when she became the first leg amputee to take part in both the Olympics and the Paralympics. Pistorius became the first double-leg amputee to take part in both Games this year, but refused to put one Games over the other. “I’m as proud to be a Paralympian as I am an Olympian,” said Pistorius.