Spread the love

Australian athletes competing at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will follow a path blazed by one of the nation’s most successful and loved teams.

On the first anniversary of Tokyo 2020, which started on August 24 last year following a one-year postponement, analysis garnered over the past 12 months shows that the Australian Paralympic Team’s phenomenal sixth placing on the medal tally was met with record television ratings, unprecedented growth on Paralympics Australia’s media channels and the highest rating of emotional connection to the Australian public registered by a national sporting team.

Despite the Covid pandemic severely impacting their preparations, the Australian Paralympic Team won 21 gold medals, 29 silver and 30 bronze at Tokyo and set nine world records and 14 Paralympic records along the way. Just under half of the 179-strong Team competed at their first Games, yet a remarkable 38 percent of athletes earned a podium placing.

Team members were equally impressive out of the sporting arena, speaking honestly and passionately about their sporting and personal journeys, helping lift the nation’s spirits while much of the population was in lockdown.


“The one-year anniversary of the Tokyo Games is an opportunity for us to reflect on a memorable campaign by all involved,” Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Catherine Clark said.

“The circumstances were uniquely difficult, yet our athletes showed a resilience and determination that earned the admiration of millions of Australians. Whether it was our high-profile champions such as Dylan Alcott, Madison de Rozario and Curtis McGrath or our emerging stars like William Martin, Rowan Crothers and Paige Greco, the performances of our athletes and the impact they had on the audiences who supported them back home was profound.”

It is now known that records were broken on and off the playing field. Analysis conducted by True North Research found that the Australian Paralympic Team attained an Emotional Connection benchmark score of 219, the highest score ever registered for a national team. The score was built on high levels of respect, trust and pride. True North’s research found the Team ranked in the top 10 for awareness of at least five sponsors and third for engendering positive sentiment for the Team’s sponsors.


Further statistics confirm why Tokyo 2020 was so successful for the Australian Paralympic Movement. After viewership of the Opening Ceremony eclipsed the previous record by 42 percent, set at Beijing 2008, Seven’s primetime coverage registered a record average of 305,000 during the Games, a daily average reach of more than two million and nearly one million on Seven’s streaming platform 7plus.

68 percent of all Australians watched some part of the Tokyo Paralympics;
58 percent said the Australian athletes made them feel proud to be Australian;
96 percent said they felt inspired by the athletes;
91 percent described them as wonderful role models;
82 percent said the Paralympics change negative perceptions of people with a disability.

The public engaged heavily with Paralympics Australia’s digital platforms during the Games, with 3.7 million page views of PA’s website and increases in Facebook and Instagram followers of 23 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

“This engagement gives us a strong platform as we head towards Paris 2024 and, further down the track, Brisbane 2032,” Clark said. “Excitingly, there are so many opportunities to build and strengthen our connection as well. We are looking to expand our community programs, including the Australian Paralympic Education program, Para-sport Equipment Fund and create a Talent Identification program.

“There have been some landmark Games in recent history, among them Sydney 2000 and London 2012. For the Australian Paralympic Team and indeed our movement, Tokyo 2020 is likely to be remembered as an extraordinary Games as well, during some quite extraordinary times.”

Clark said the Tokyo 2020 first anniversary was a chance to recognise the lengths Paralympics Australia staff went to so our Para-athletes had everything they needed to be able to perform at their best.

“It truly was a remarkable effort by so many people, to actually host an event of this size and complexity, with teams from around the world during the pandemic. Our staff were incredible, at all times balancing the desire of our athletes to compete with ensuring they were safe. The Australian Government supported us and made it possible to take the team to Tokyo and importantly, the people of Japan hosted a memorable and highly successful Paralympic Games against all the odds. After so much isolation and disconnection tied to COVID, the people of Japan enabled a global audience to come together, to celebrate the wonderful example of human achievement and humanity that is the Paralympic Games. A stunning feat worthy of acknowledgment and recognition” she said.

By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 24 August 2022