The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games: The Visibility of People with Disabilities in Brazil as a Possible Legacy

Doralice Lange De Souza, Ian Brittain

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    63 Downloads (Pure)


    There are claims that the Paralympic Games (PG) might contribute to a better world for people with disabilities (PWD). However, there are also claims that the PG might in fact be counterproductive to the PWD’s rights movement because they might promote the medical model of disability and/or ableism. In this context, we developed a qualitative exploratory study to investigate the legacies of the Rio 2016 PG from the perspective of disability rights activists and people involved in Paralympic sport managerial positions. In this article, we discuss one of the main perceived legacies that the PG fostered PWD’s visibility and a change in society’s perception of PWD. We conducted 24 open in-depth interviews and found that, for our participants, the PG worked as a showcase for PWD who were rarely seen in the media and in public spaces before the Games. This visibility helped to challenge negative stereotypes and stigmas associated with PWD, as well as possibly opening new doors for them. Our interviewees believe that we shouldn’t expect that the PG alone can change people’s perceptions and PWD’s status overnight. They are part of a larger and complex set of actions that are slowly contributing to this process.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)334-353
    Number of pages20
    JournalCommunication and Sport
    Issue number2
    Early online date29 Jul 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


    • Paralympic Games,
    • legacy
    • people with disability,
    • visibility
    • Rio 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games: The Visibility of People with Disabilities in Brazil as a Possible Legacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this