The 14th Workshop

October 6, 2015
"Review of the London Paralympic Games"

Considering the legacy of the Paralympics in Great Britain, their birthplace
The mainstreaming of people with disabilities in the United Kingdom is underpinned by unification in the principle that general sports associations and associations promoting programs for able-bodied people must also provide similar activities for people with disabilities. Following the lead of the United States' Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the United Kingdom enacted the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and this has become the foundation for supporting sports for people with disabilities.

Through preparations for the 2012 London Paralympic Games (the London Games), there were a number of changes in the United Kingdom: (1) clarification of responsibilities of sports organizations, (2) establishment of an assessment system, and (3) adoption of an enhancement system similar to that for Olympic athletes. The most prominent legacies of the London Games are the concept that all people participate at all levels, and the popularization of the "Sport for All" principle in society at large. Even in the United Kingdom, progress has not always been smooth, but the London Games contributed significantly to its momentum. In Japan as well, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games (the Tokyo Games) can be an opportunity for further change.

The London Games and their legacy and "lessons" - considering areas of improvement for the Japanese team
First and foremost, the Japanese team is lagging behind the rest of the world in its competitive level. In addition, the order-made system for equipment is driving up costs. Consequently, balancing improvements in efficiency with their widespread adoption is difficult. Other national teams also excel in their ability to gather information across the board.

A look at the state of governance of sports associations reveals that there are significant differences in organization among sports associations. A further issue is how to address the gap between the practical implementation of measures for people with disabilities and the law.

The following are noted as factors contributing to the increase in spectators in the London Games: (1) the success of the Olympic Games, (2) reasonably-priced tickets, (3) evening programs, (4) television broadcasting via Channel 4. These may serve as a useful reference and a key to the success of the Tokyo Games. 

The legacy of London 2012 and Tokyo 2020
The following are noted as factors contributing to the success of the London Games: (1) having the same organization host both the Olympics and the Paralympics, (2) the British national team's strong performance, and (3) the joint parade of Olympians and Paralympians after the Games, and media coverage of the parade.

Furthermore, the British culture of enjoying leisure and a sports culture that has become a part of daily life for many people are also important factors. These factors are also relevant for Japan, and could become part of the lasting legacy of the Tokyo Games. 

Other potential elements in the legacy of the Tokyo Games are: (1) creating an environment where people can participate in sports on a daily basis, (2) making exercise a regular activity, and (3) being able to experience success through sports.