Sir Philip Craven, MBE is a British sports administrator and former athlete. As the President of the International Paralympic Committee, he has a unique insight into the running of the Paralympic Games.
Where are the Paralympic Games currently placed in terms of as force for change?
The Games will be the most widely broadcast in the history of the Paralympic movement with over 100 broadcasters set to show pictures around the world to an estimated cumulative TV audience of four billion people.
More TV coverage and better athletic performances will amplify the impact the Games have on Rio, Brazil and the world in terms of changing attitudes towards people with an impairment.
I expect Rio 2016 to cement the Paralympic Games’ position as the world’s number one sport’s event for driving social inclusion.
In your view have the Paralympic Games lived up to expectations of legacy for disabled people in the UK and abroad?
Yes, I truly believe so. You only have to look at the British team for Rio 2016 to see how many young athletes are making their first Games appearance after they were inspired to take up parasport watching London 2012.
There has also been a lot of research conducted since London 2012 that shows attitudes are continuing to change and Great Britain is a more inclusive country now than it was four years ago.
With the strength of Paralympic competition so strong and attitudes around inclusion gaining momentum, is the logical next step to integrate the Paralympics and Olympics as one tournament?
The IPC and IOC enjoy a very close relationship which dates back to the first Co-operation Agreement which was signed back in 2000. Earlier this year, both the IPC and IOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to extend our co-operation to 2032 which means the Olympics and Paralympics will continue to be held in the same city.
Although bringing the two Games together can never be ruled out, it would only be considered by the IPC if it did not stunt the exponential growth the Paralympics has enjoyed since 1960
For now we are happy for the two Games to exist as two separate events as one giant festival of sport.
Which events on the schedule do you personally try to make sure you get to see? (Presumably the wheelchair basketball must be one of them…)
As a former international wheelchair basketball player, I always want to see the sport I played for so many years. I think both the men’s and women’s competitions are really open this year so the finals could be thrilling.
In athletics, I am also excited to see if the USA’s Tatyana McFadden can become the first woman to win seven golds in track and field at one Games – if anyone can do it, she can. If she achieves it then it will be fantastic for American TV viewers who will be able to watch a summer Games for the first time live on NBC.
I’m also looking forward to seeing triathlon and canoe, two sports that will make their Paralympic debut in Rio.
Photo courtsey: IPC