After getting plenty of criticism for their lack of Paralympic coverage in London in 2012, America’s official broadcaster, NBC, is determined to do a better job in Rio in 2016. This begins tonight as they air a special highlighting the selection of the United States Paralympic team.
The whole event is not as encouraging a sign as NBC decision makers no doubt thought it would be. While this is more than the network has done in the past, it smacks of a token move and does not fill Paralympic Games fans with much hope of greater coverage. The special will air on Monday (tonight) at 11pm, hardly a time to be caught by many non-hardcore fans.
The special will feature Jessica Long (swimming), Tatyana McFadden (athletics), Brad Snyder (swimming), Lex Gillette (athletics), Michelle Konkoly and David Brown. It will look at the personal story of all the athletes and also the road they have taken to Rio, both in qualification and in training.
NBC Sports Group Vice President, Mark Levy trotted out some disappointing stereotypes but was making a seemingly heartfelt effort to push the event when he said “These athletes are more than just Paralympians, they are sports heroes and ambassadors for all that the Paralympic Movement represents.”
The special will provide a unique look in to the preparation for the Paralympians, and as it is airing on NBC Sports Network it should be available on demand on NBC Sports Extra. NBC will be airing 70 hours of coverage of the Rio Paralympics across their platforms, up from a dismal six from London. On top of this American Paralympic Games fans will be able to watch live online at the US Olympic Committee website.