The London 2012 Paralympic Games get under way in London’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday with a three hours Opening Ceremony spectacular commencing at 8.30pm.
The Opening Ceremony will include more than 3,000 adult volunteers, a children volunteer cast of over 100, and 100-plus professionals. In a ground-breaking, inclusive staging, the Ceremony will showcase the excellence of deaf and disabled artists and will open with a fly past by Aerobility, a British charity that trains disabled people to become pilots.
Called ‘Enlightenment’, Co-Artistic Directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings promise a spectacular celebration of the inspirational spirit of the Paralympic Games that challenges perceptions of human possibility. Fifty specialist performers have also been taking part in an eight-week circus skills training programme at Circus Space in Hackney ahead of the Opening Ceremony. What events can you see LIVE on your TV screens or via Live Streamign?
Television coverage : Ireland and United Kingdom:
This year, for the first time, Irish viewers can watch LIVE coverage of the Paralympics, with SETANTA IRELAND showing over 70 hours of live coverage on a free to air basis. Across the water, LIVE British TV coverage will be provided by Channel 4 and will also have five dedicated Paralympic Channels on offer via both Sky and Virgin Media. Of course broadcasters like RTE, BBC NI, will also have additional coverage in their News and Sports programmes on Radio as well as on TV, but the LIVE action will be from Setanta and Channel 4.
There will also be considerable LIVE streaming via the International Paralympic Committee’s own website and that of Paralympics Ireland , of which more later.
Remember even at the Beijing 2008 Games there was no live coverage available to Irish viewers so this is a huge step forward and particularly so for the families and friends of all the coverage will be on the Setanta Ireland channel and will be hosted by Stephen Cullinane. In his company, will be a panel of Paralympians and Olympians to commentate and provide analysis.
These will include Derek Malone – a three-time Paralympian and bronze medallist Athens 2004 (800m), swimmer Melanie Nocher, fellow 2012 Olympian Olive Loughnane, with Will Downing – commentating on athletics and swimming, and a great supporting case for other sports.
Brian Quinn, Marketing Director of Setanta Sports, said: “We are delighted to be showing the Games on a free to air basis and we are making every effort to show as many of the Irish performances as possible. Our ambition is to have the widest possible audience tuning in to get behind Team Ireland.
“To achieve this Setanta are not charging subscriptions to watch the games so anyone switching on Channel 423 on SKY, or Channel 105 on UPC will be able to view for free.
Setanta’s live coverage starts on Wednesday (29 August) at 19:30 with a three-hour broadcast of the Opening Ceremony whilst on Monday (27 August) at 21:45 Setanta Ireland will show Beyond Limits, an hour-long documentary produced by Athena Media which charts the preparation of a number of Irish Athletes as they get ready to compete.
In addition there will be even more extensive coverage on Channel 4 for Irish viewers unable to benefit from the Setanta free to air coverage and indeed the Channel’s extensive morning coverage will be co-fronted by former Olympic Long Jump Gold Medallist, Jonathan Edwards and Daráine Mulvihill, a name that will be familiar to many Irish TV viewers though as yet relatively unknown in the United Kingdom though that will surely change once she has co-presented the Channel 4 morning coverage . A great Channel 4 team too inc several Paralympians and such TV professionals as Clare Balding and many others.
Channel 4 co-presenter: Daráine Mulvihill
Daráine started her broadcasting career when she was just 16 years old, she was the prime focus of a number of Irish television documentaries and subsequently made a vast number of appearances on chat shows across all broadcast mediums. This early start to her media career came after she was hit with a life threatening strain of meningitis which left her with permanent disabilities. As an amputee herself she has experienced many highs and lows in recent years yet has met each new challenge as it arose with a “can do, will do” attitude that has already inspired many of her co-presenters.
Her bravery and strength in overcoming the illness led her to receive an “Irish Person of the Year” award and Daráine was chosen as a youth representative on a number of state councils, including the President’s Council of State.
After her media interest was sparked from a young age Daráine went on to study Communication Studies at Dublin City University. She then decided to make use of her fluent Gaelic and completed a post grad in Broadcast Journalism through Irish in Galway.
Daraine was snapped up by RTE to work as a researcher in kids television, here her potential to be in front of the camera was recognised and she earned valuable experience as a reporter and sports reviewer on a variety of children’s and teenage programmes.
Five years later she was given a chance to land her dream job when Channel 4 launched a nationwide search to uncover new Presenting talent for the 2012 Paralympic Games. Daráine’s professionalism matched with her friendly nature and passion for her subject shone through and she won the prestigious post beating off some very tough competition. She moved to London where she spent time training in front and behind the cameras in BBC, ESPN and Sky Sports News.
She was featured recently in an excellent “Irish Times” article where the 29 years old, from Ashbourne, Co.Meath – the daughter of former GAA Secretary-General Liam Mulvihill spoke freely about her own disabilities and those of the athletes she will be interviewing in the weeks ahead:
“I don’t think you can separate the stories from the athletes in the Paralympics,” Mulvihill says. “They get to where they are because of what they overcome. That’s all part of the package. I’ve heard a lot of people say that the Paralympics should be all about the sport and we shouldn’t be talking about their back-stories, but you have to. That’s what makes it interesting and it’s what sets the Paralympics apart from everything else.
“Having gone through something similar to the athletes and living a life that faces up to some of the same challenges as them, I do think I have a natural affinity that other journalists might not have. And as well as that, I am not in any way nervous or strange or have issues around disability. So I’m relaxed with them and they’re relaxed with me, too. I don’t feel like I always have to explain myself when I’m asking a question. I don’t worry that I’m going to offend the person I’m interviewing. It’s maybe a bit easier for me to ask certain questions. Not always, but sometimes. They do feel that they’re not threatened in any way because I guess they know that I’m coming from the same background as they are.”
Live Streaming: Ireland and Rest of the World.
Paralympics Ireland website will be embedded with Setanta Sports coverage up to 10 hours per day from Aug 29th – Sept 9th and many other features.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced plans to provide the most comprehensive online coverage ever for a Paralympics including broadcasting 580 hours of LIVE sport from London 2012 via www.paralympic.org
During each day of London 2012, the IPC website will broadcast four streams of uninterrupted live coverage from the Paralympics with English commentary, including daily coverage of swimming, wheelchair basketball and athletics, whilst a fourth channel will cover a range of sports. A fifth channel will broadcast a mixture of sports with Spanish commentary.
So now, all you need to do to enjoy this great Festival of Sport is check out the official classification system for each of the participating sports (essential reading for you to understand why there will be more than one athletics 100 metres gold a medal race ,for example):
And finally, Ireland’s Jason Smyth’s Video blog introduction, just released by Samsung : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7br7lKPiJws&feature=youtu.be