By past experience, and historical precedence, no one expected a huge take up for the Paralympics because, for whatever reason, they have always had a limited appeal, despite the promotion that usually accompanies them. But not this year.
Hot on the heels of the very successful Olympic Games, with the country still basking in the glow of its halo, people have turned their attention immediately to the forthcoming Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability. Only 2.5 million tickets were made available, with the hope that perhaps 60%-75% would be sold. Now only 300,000 are left, including the more expensive tickets for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies (£300 and £500), and even those have people scrambling for them, with lots of cries of them being 'difficult to get'. Olympic fever has gripped our nation and everyone now wants a bit of the action.
The interesting point to note is that the Paralympics are not until August 29th, and if no tickets are available from now, what happens when they get underway and the real interest begins?
It is clear that the current furore around tickets is caused because the organisers obviously underestimated the demand for them. But they were not to know beforehand that the Olympics would be so successful and create extra interest down the line; that there would be such a knock on effect in the two Games. The performance of the British athletes has been phenomenal and, rising on this crest of such euphoria, it is not surprising to see that the public would like to get behind our Paralympic athletes as well to see if that success can be equalled or even bettered. That can be no bad thing for sport and inclusion.
The only danger with this raised public expectation is that it could put our athletes under new physical and emotional pressure to perform in equal manner to their able bodied counterparts, perhaps with adverse effects. Precedent has been set and England expects, and all that…but it could end in acute disappointment all round.
Nonetheless, thanks to the Olympics being held in Britain, perhaps, for the first time ever, our Paralympians will now get the crucial attention and support they deserve, and the interest to match. Good luck to them!