Rio de Janeiro’s Paralympic Games, the 15th in the history of this event, have just ended and it’s time for an analysis.
Moved to Brazil with more than 100 athletes, the Italian team comes back home with very gratifying outcomes: 39 gained medals (10 gold medals, 14 silver medals and 15 bronze medals) that, for the first time in the last 20 years, allowed Italy to enter the final top 10.
An outstanding outcome, resulted from the commitment, the talent and the moxie of extraordinary athletes, who kept thousands of Italian people stuck in front of TV and computer screens, won over both by the sport achievements and the irresistible human touch of people such as Bebe Vio, Alex Zanardi, Federico Morlacchi, Martina Caironi, Alvise De Vidi, Assunta Legnante, etc. Many men and women, each one with his (or her) personal and sport story, who gained, day by day, an increasing space on traditional and new media, too.
The attention paid to the event by TV, newspapers and web is one of the most positive outcomes of this edition of Paralympic Games. RAI ensured an excellent coverage to the whole event, using both RAI2 and RaiSport (both channels are visible for free), plus its web streaming service, to give room not just to the achievements of Italian athletes, but also to the most important matches of sports where no Italian athlete was involved. “Gazzetta dello Sport”, the most important sport newspaper in Italy, reserved an entire section of its very visited website to the Paralympic athletes’ achievements, exalting their outcomes, not only under a sport perspective.
But, besides the space reserved to Rio Paralympic Games, in my opinion, the most relevant aspect is the tone of voice used to narrate them: no lamenting tones, no obsessive focus on the athletes’ specific disabilities. Above all, the focus was on their sport achievements, giving prominence to their personality. I’ll never forget Bebe Vio screaming soon after having won, at her very first participation in Paralympic Games, the gold medal in foil: the (very justifiable) jubilation of a 19 years old girl who is aware of having achieved an important outcome. Nothing more, nothing less.
I wanna thank all the athletes for these days full of intense emotions, which I strongly hope will have positive effects on the daily life of all the disabled people, not just in Italy.
See you in Tokyo in 4 years: will Alex Zanardi be there as well? Maybe…