Martin Dougan: A day of action to match thrills of the opening ceremony

You've got Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis. Now people are even starting to realise it's OK to fancy disabled people

Share
Related Topics

One day in and we have had world records smashed right from the word go, by Nyree Kindred in the pool and Sarah Storey in the velodrome.

It's all so fitting after such an incredible opening ceremony. The reception to yesterday's successes and the plaudits for the opening ceremony go to show that Britain is a country that is ready to make disabled people celebrities and to really hold up disabled sport to the international spotlight.

You've got your Usain Bolt, your David Beckham, your Jessica Ennis, but now we have a new set of poster boys and girls.

People are even starting to realise that it's OK to fancy a disabled person. When Edwina Currie said the Italian team looked "gorgeous – even in their wheelchairs", my first reaction was to laugh. Saying "even" implied she was of the mindset that if you are in a wheelchair, you're not desirable. Well, we won't be thinking that any more after these Games.

I don't think it was patronising. Patronising would have been to look and say: "Oh, aren't they doing well against the odds." She's looked and she's seen some hotties in wheelchairs – total respect to her for saying it!

There will be plenty more athletes catching eyes, just like them. No doubt we will be seeing Sarah Storey on her fair share of posters soon and I've got high hopes for sprinter Johnny Peacock. He could beat Oscar Pistorius to the 100m gold – and he's not a bad looking lad either. He could be a massive celebrity. Jade Jones will be turning heads in the wheelchair racing and of course, the clash between GB's Ellie Simmonds and her American rival Victoria Arlen is going to be gripping.

There will be new stars and new role models from these Games.

When I was at primary school I couldn't do PE because I was disabled – I was born with cerebral palsy. Now kids that age come up to me in the street asking if I'm in the Paralympics – they know about it, they know that disabled people are as capable of being athletes as able-bodied people are. These Games will only add to the perception that there aren't Paralympic athletes and able-bodied athletes – there are just athletes. It is fitting because Britain is the home of Paralympic sport – we've always been ready and open to challenge perceptions. It has hardly even started and already this is looking like being the greatest ever Paralympics. We've always been ready to think differently and we've always been ready for this.

Martin Dougan, 24, is a Paralympics presenter for Channel 4 and former captain of Scotland's wheelchair basketball team

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
“I just wanted some chicken wings,” Tan Shen told the assembled media. “But once I got in there ... I decided I needed time to think.”  

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015