What's going on with the Paralympic Prize Money?
Like many, Paralympics has been a big deal in the BBR Family households of late!
Last week, my 12yo came to me asking why Paralympic athletes don’t win a monetary prize, but Olympic athletes do? I immediately assumed he had misinformation, until he showed me a post from @newcastlesurfschool.
I was gutted! Surely not!
So, we spent the last week doing some research.
There was a moment when he said very passionately to me, ‘mum, I don’t think I want to watch this, we should boycott it!.’
After some discussion, we agreed, that wasn’t the right answer, but I won’t lie, it stained our enjoyment of the games a little!
In today’s day and age, how can this be? And how can we change it?!
Whats the current State of the Nation?
We were pleased to hear of the go fund me page put together by The Female Athlete project (go the girls), which we fully support and encourage you to also (link below), but it still left us wondering, how can we see a more long-term impact and genuine change!!
This issue is bigger than just the prize money. Paralympians have a significantly lower rate of sponsorship, equipment often costs (a lot) more, and their income as professionals is more often than not much lower. In recognition of the pay gap, The Australian institute of sport offers means tested grants to both Paralympians and Olympian’s - it’s a start!
The Green and Gold Virtual Seat Campaign by Paralympics Australia is another great start, promising to use the funds raised to support athletes from a grassroots to professional level, collaborating with government, sporting bodies and the community to recognise and deliver future Paralympians. But the details on exactly HOW this money will be used is vague to say the least. In spite of this, it has been a well received campaign, tallying over $1.2M so far!
Still, we need to see more! We need to see all these organisations working together, to bring change and equality at every level! We need to see corporate sponsorship diversify and recognise The Paralympics as well!
Funding to assist in accessible sports is available through the sport access foundation, founded by the amazing Katie Kelly OAM, which BBR is proud to support. Programs like this are seeing a growing number of young people with disabilities enjoying sport, and being able to chase their sporting dreams.
Access Adventures is another brilliant organisation helping keep people with disability active and included in adventure sports, with all proceeds going to the purchase of adaptive sporting equipment. A new adapted mountain bike starts at around the $20k mark as a basic bike. Imagine the additional cost just for the bike if you wanted to train and work towards professional sporting including Paralympics!!
On August 19, We The 15 Campaign was launched world wide, in what is set to be the biggest ever human rights movement. It aims to remove not just the inequality for people with disabilities around the world, but also remove the inactivity of change.
"A global movement that is publicly campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion and accessibility."
If we can bring together all stakeholders, at all levels, across the whole community, including corporate sponsors, we may just see a positive change for the future!
Watch this space, big things are surely coming!
Remaining hopeful, Carly x