• Ade Adepitan’s Paralympics His work on TV is motivated by the fact that he is helping to change perceptions Representing Britain in the Sydney games was "the best moment of my life," he says

Zeitung Heute : Ade Adepitan’s Paralympics His work on TV is motivated by the fact that he is helping to change perceptions Representing Britain in the Sydney games was "the best moment of my life," he says

He played wheelchair basketball at the Games – now he fronts much of the Paralympics coverage on Channel 4. So where does this man’s passion come from?

TAVISHI KANWAR[17 years] 17[17 years] LUCY MICHAELOUDIS[17 years]
Good mood, good job. Ade Adepitan likes his work for Channel 4.
Good mood, good job. Ade Adepitan likes his work for Channel 4.

He has spent the best part of twelve years involved in the Paralympics: from playing wheelchair basketball in Sydney and Athens to helping win the bid for the 2012 Games in London to presenting "That Paralympic Show" – among others – for Channel 4 (C4). So where does Ade Adepitan's passion come from?

Adepitan's continued involvement in the Games stems primarily from his love for sport. He was inspired at the age of twelve when he saw a British team play. "I saw a group of guys in funky wheelchairs. They had massive arms; they looked awesome, like real gladiators. I was hooked immediately."

Representing Great Britain in the Sydney games was "the best moment of my life", said Adepitan. He continued in Athens, where he helped GB clinch a bronze medal. Perhaps a reason why the 39-year-old is so passionate about the Paralympics is because of his belief that they are unique. "I think we have a different sort of appeal. You'll get people who watch the Paralympics, who are not necessarily sports lovers, because there is a story behind each athlete. A lot of people think they are seemingly more accessible."

With the opinion that the Paralympics have something special, Adepitan wanted to bring the games to his hometown London. The bid was about taking the Paralympics to the next level and increasing its profile, and also about inspiring the next generation. Having shown one of the only bids that involved two Paralympians, he believes that "we showed the IOC something special".

One way London has delivered the promise of increasing the profile of the Paralympics is to ensure there is extensive media coverage. Adepitan has been closely involved with this, currently being a presenter for Channel 4. The channel won the right to broadcast the Paralympic games in 2010, and have commissioned three pre-games in-depth documentary series, as well as coverage of the Games themselves, with UK TV hours devoted to coverage of the Paralympics increasing by 400 percent.

Adepitan has worked on "That Paralympic Show", which educates the public about Paralympic sports, whilst introducing Paralympic hopefuls from the British team. Helping C4 deliver their pledge of "the best possible coverage", Adepitan has worked on several pre-games programmes to give disability sport a higher profile.

C4 aims to bring about "a fundamental and permanent shift in perceptions of disability in the UK", and Adepitan's work on TV is motivated by the fact that he is helping to change perceptions.

"I think we would be kidding ourselves if we thought everyone looks at Paralympics at an equal level. A preconception people have is that we are not as good, we don't train as hard and we only do our sport for recreation. Those kinds of preconceptions are very annoying."

"Working on live TV is nerve-racking. You don't want to get things wrong and make a fool of yourself." So how will Adepitan know whether his work has been successful? "As long as people don't throw tomatoes at me in the street!"

In a more serious tone, he thinks "when we look at the uptake of Paralympic sports and the profile of the Paralympians afterwards and that has increased, then I can say the work we have been doing on C4 has been successful."

Adepitan has an outlook in line with the Paralympian value of determination, which is how he came to be on TV. "When I went into TV presenting I thought I'll go for it, and if it doesn't work out and I still want it, I'll go and try harder."

Adepitan will be presenting the 2012 games, but his involvement will not stop there. A post-games series of "That Paralympic Show" is being planned, highlighting the glittering moments from the London games as well as looking ahead to the fifteenth Paralympics. He hopes London's record ticket sales will be overtaken in Rio de Janeiro.

"I think it would look really strange if a massive spectacle has been made of the Paralympics in London and this is not followed through in four years' time."

So Adepitan's "trademark cheeky grin and flowing dreadlocks" (so his website proclaims) grace television screens with the intention of raising awareness for the Games, which have given him so much, now and in the future.

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