Disability Narratives in Sports Communication: Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games’ Best Practices and Implications

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Disability Narratives in Sports Communication: Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games’ Best Practices and Implications


  • Olga Kolotouchkina School of Humanities and Communication Sciences, University CEU San Pablo, Spain
  • Carmen Llorente-Barroso Faculty of Information Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
  • María Luisa García-Guardia Faculty of Information Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
  • Juan Pavón Institute of Knowledge Technology, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain


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Abstract:  The Paralympic Games have become a relevant social and communication tool for the enhancement of global awareness and understanding of disability. The increasing visibility of this kind of global sports event, as well as the efforts of public authorities to make their host cities more accessible, evidence a relevant shift to new urban barrier-free experiences and discourses concerning disability. This research is guided by an exploratory case study approach to assess the disability representation and narratives within the context of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. The examination of some innovative communication strategies fostering the visibility of disability reveals a series of effective practices implemented in Japan. The focus on the personification of para-athletes, the celebration of public events to experience first-hand para-sports disciplines, as well as the engagement of school-children and young people in para-sports initiatives are predominant in the communication efforts of Tokyo 2020 in the pre-games period.

Keywords:  disability; Paralympic Games; media; sports communication; Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games; Japan

Published:   5 August 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i3.4043


© Olga Kolotouchkina, Carmen Llorente-Barroso, María Luisa García-Guardia, Juan Pavón. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.