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AnnotationPeng, Siyao;Zeldes, Amir

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s-1 Wikinews interviews academic Simon Ličen about attitudes towards US Paralympics
s-2 Saturday, November 16, 2013
s-3 A Russian stamp for Paralympic Games in Sochi in 2014
s-4 On Thursday, with 110 days until the start of the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, Wikinews interviewed Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, Sport Studies and Educational / Counseling Psychology at Washington State University Simon Ličen about attitudes in United States towards the Paralympics.
s-5 Ličen has recently joined the Sport Management Program at Washington State University to develop its sport media and communication research and teaching contents.
s-6 Originally from Slovenia, he served as the Director of Media and Communications of a WTA Tour event and was a member of the UNESCO Slovenian National Commission.
s-7 He was also the Team Manager of the Slovenian wheelchair basketball national team.
s-8 Why do you think the Paralympic movement has so little visibility in the US compared to other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and even Canada?
s-9 Sports in the United States largely reaffirm existing relations of power in society.
s-10 It emphasizes consumerism, the belief that success always goes to people who merit it due to their abilities, dedication and qualifications, and reinforces, rather than changes, existing ideas related to gender, ethnicity and nationality.
s-11 Paralympic sport brings attention to athletes who are typically overlooked in American society because the majority of the population does not want to identify with people who are disabled.
s-12 Although disability is not contagious, interest in disabled sports might put into question the masculinity of the males following it.
s-13 Disabled athletes also challenge existing relations of power by displaying dedication, hard work and perseverance in different contexts than those most sports fans are accustomed to.
s-14 Other countries, including the ones you mention, have stronger social orientations in all aspects of society.
s-15 Even though legislative support may be less strong than the one provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, many social institutions including the media are more receptive to this form of diversity.
s-16 What do you think the impact will be for the Paralympic movement will be with the Games being televised live in the United States for first time?
s-17 The impact depends on a number of aspects.
s-18 One of them is the channels that NBC as the broadcasting rights owner for the United States will use to air the Paralympic Games on.
s-19 Will they be shown nationally or regionally, on NBC or on any of the company’s multiple cable networks?
s-20 A second aspect is the parts or hours of the day the Paralympics will be shown.
s-21 Remember that there is a nine-hour difference between Sochi and New York, and a 12-hour difference between Sochi and the US West Coast.
s-22 So daytime events will be shown live in the United States in the middle of the night, and evening prime-time events will be shown indeed live in the morning U.S. time.
s-23 So showing the Paralympics live on United States television might turn out to be less glamorous than it appears.
s-24 A third important factor is the way the event will be mediated: will NBC have its best sports broadcasters following the event after having worked the Winter Olympics?
s-25 Will they treat and announce the competitions as they do all others for better and worse?
s-26 Will they take it as an opportunity to educate viewers about disability and diversity while showing superb athletic performances without engaging in a discourse of pity?
s-27 All in all, I think this is a terrific opportunity to improve sports coverage in a multitude of aspects; but we will have to wait until after the event to assess to what extent the broadcasters will meet these expectations.

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