News and opinions on disability
and inclusion


13/9/12 · Posted in Paralympics, Sports

The Paralympics have been a great celebration of individual accomplishment. Unfortunately, coverage has not been great.

So to help celebrate the achievements of the athletes, we wanted to do a bit of a round up of London 2012. Let us know if we have missed anything (I am sure we will have).

First off, the excellent two part Black and White documentary gave us an insider’s look into the New Zealand athletes and what drives them. It was clear from the documentary that the athletes were very driven to succeed and that success required a lot of sacrifice.

Unfortunately, there is currently nowhere to watch the documentary online. There is a short promo by Attitude TV here.

I did have a talk to the people involved with the documentary and there are plans to release a DVD. When the DVD is released, we will grab a copy for our Library and you can borrow it from us. Just don’t let it go overdue or our angry librarian will track you down (just joking our librarian is actually very nice).

On to the actually Paralympics, the New Zealand athletes did really well. The athletes ended up achieving the highest number of medal per capita in the world. Just ahead of the Australians; this is most excellent.

Although, the New Zealand team actually narrowly missed its goal of 18 medals, ending up with 17.

Swimmer Sophie Pascoe led the way on the medal count, gaining six medals at the games, including 3 golds. She previously won four medals at the 2008 Games, while only 15 years-old. This brings her total medal count to 10, not a bad effort for a 19 year-old.


Here is an interview of Sophie Pascoe talking about the pressure in the lead up to the games. Although, I think the video could have done without the cheesy background music.

Here is footage of her winning the 200m individual medley.

To those up to play with social media, she has a Facebook page here.

Swimmer Mary Fisher did well in her debut; winning four medals including a gold. Mary is also 19 years old and is currently studying at Massy University.


I couldn’t find footage of her winning gold, but here is the next best thing; her winning sliver in Women’s 100m Backstroke.

Cyclists Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson won a full set of medals from bronze to gold.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t find footage of them winning medals, hopefully, it gets put up soon.

I did find an Attitude special on the New Zealand cycling team that you can watch here.

Providing that males can win gold medals too, swimmer Cameron Leslie repeated his 2008 feat to win another gold medal in the 150m individual medley.


Here is an interview with Cameron in the lead up to the games.

Here is him winning the 150m final.

Swimmer Daniel Sharp won a sliver in the 100m breaststroke. This was Daniel Sharp’s third time at the games and he has won a medal each time.


Watch him win the sliver medal here.

Veteran shooter Michael Johnson rounded out the male team’s efforts with a bronze medal in mixed air rifle standing. This medal adds to a bronze he won in Beijing and a gold in Athens. Johnson was also the flag bearer for the opening ceremony.


Here is short interview with Michael Johnson at the games.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find footage of him winning the bronze medal.

Cyclist Fiona Southorn started the New Zealand team’s medal run with a bronze medal in the Women’s Pursuit on day 1. 


Watch her win the bronze medal here.

Unfortunately, veteran cyclist Jayne Parsons, who featured in part two of the Black and White documentary, had to pull out of the games because of injury. Jayne Parsons had won a bronze medal in the 2008 games.

All and all, it has been an action packed games. What was your highlight from the games?

Sam Murray

Policy and Advocacy Team

4 Responses to “Paralympics”

  1. Allyson says:

    My highlight of the Paralympics was that I should have gone over to England to watch them. It’s appalling that we had to search the internet extensively for any half decent coverage. Sky TV won the contract to show the Olympic and Paralympic games, but why didn’t they fulfill the Paralympic contract.

    We need to start lobbying now for full, live coverage of the Paralympic games in Rio.

  2. Roger Loveless says:

    And don’t forget the firsts without medals. Our three sailors, Tim Dempsey and Jan Apel in a SKUD18 and Paul Francis in a 2.4mR were the first NZ sailors at the Paralympics for 12 years and Jan the first woman sailor for NZ. To improve future sailors chances more NZ competition is essential, so perhaps people could check out their local yacht club. Apparently 12 now have disabled persons sailing programmes.

  3. Emma Lord says:

    Thank you for the roundup. I thought the documentary “Black and White” playing before the Paralympics started was an excellent sign that we would get to see plenty of action from the Games on Prime, and was severely disappointed with the dismal coverage we got – even our major news channels couldn’t use decent footage of our athletes winning medals thanks to Sky’s buy-up of rights. Why buy the rights if you’re not going to show us anything?

    Defintely time to let the powers-that-be know that we want to see more of our Paralympians live on our screens.

Leave a Reply