IPC president spells out potential of Paralympics in Paris, Los Angeles

Newly-elected International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons has talked up the opportunities presented by the confirmation that Paris and Los Angeles will stage the 2024 and 2028 editions of the summer Paralympic Games.

Paris and Los Angeles were yesterday (Wednesday) rubber-stamped as the hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games at the International Olympic Committee’s IOC Session in Lima, Peru. The award means the French capital and US city are automatically obligated to stage the Paralympic Games under a long-running agreement between the IOC and IPC.

Parsons (pictured), who was elected to succeed Sir Philip Craven as IPC president last week, has expressed his belief that Paris can fulfil its promise of eclipsing London to stage the best-ever Paralympics. “Both Paris and LA presented tremendous integrated bids and what I like about each host city is that they offer different opportunities for the Paralympic Movement,” he said.

“Paris 2024 has a very strong desire to surpass London 2012 and stage the best Paralympic Games in history. Looking at what they presented here in Lima I really believe they can do it, however the benchmark will likely be raised by Tokyo in three years’ time.

“The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will undoubtedly lead to social transformation and most certainly will make France an even stronger and more competitive player in Paralympic sport, especially with the development of France’s first Paralympic youth training centre.”

The IPC has long talked of the opportunities presented by a Paralympic Games in Los Angeles, with the United States considered an under-developed market for the Paralympic Movement. “With 11 years still to go until the LA 2028 Paralympics we have to go all out to ensure that these are the Games where the Paralympic Movement finally makes a breakthrough in the USA,” Parsons said.

“This is a huge opportunity for us to engage the US market in terms of awareness, spectator numbers, TV viewership, commercial support and participation; it is an opportunity that we have to grasp with both hands.

“The US market in terms of awareness is still fairly under developed compared to other markets around the world. We must seize this opportunity so that as many people as possible in the US are aware of the Paralympic Games and the impact they can have in transforming society.”

In June 2016, the IOC and IPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to outline the principles of a new long-term cooperation between the two organisations. The agreement is set to run through to 2032, building on the current partnership that was signed prior to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games was the first time that the IOC and IPC outlined the principle of strengthening relations between the two organisations, and a cooperation agreement was signed in 2001 to secure the ‘one bid, one city’ approach. The deal confirmed that the Paralympic Games from 2008 would always take place shortly after the Olympic Games, using the same sports venues and facilities. From the 2012 bid process onwards, the host city chosen to stage the Olympic Games has also been obliged to host the Paralympics.

Parsons added: “It is thanks to our relationship with the IOC that the Paralympics is the event it is today, and I look forward to working with the IOC in the coming years to further develop the Games.

“Announcing two host cities at once will also help with our long-term planning. I hope that by working closely with Paris 2024 and LA 2028 we can ensure that these Games do not just bring the world’s best Para athletes together, but also help bring the whole world together in terms of spectators and TV viewers.

“For 2020, 2024 and 2028 I want the number of countries competing to increase at each edition and I also want to ensure that developing nations have the capacity and infrastructure to produce a greater number of quality athletes who can qualify for the Games.”