The London Paralympics were a smashing success, and the numbers prove it. These Games were the first sell-out — 2.5 million tickets sold. A record number of athletes competed — 4,200 representing 165 countries. Coverage of the events was groundbreaking, with Britain’s Channel 4 showing over 150 hours of competition, quadrupling their previous coverage. This success is unprecedented, but why were the Paralympics mostly invisible on American televisions?

Linda Mastandrea, attorney, wheelchair user and former Paralympian, says television coverage was also nearly nonexistent when she competed in the 1990s, but global coverage has progressed by light years since then. Mastandrea is puzzled as to why NBC has continued to ignore coverage in the face of marketing campaigns by Citi, BP, Visa and Coca-Cola. “Obviously these sponsors saw some value in the Paralympic property, but the

[American] broadcasters still didn’t get it,” Mastandrea says.

Mastandrea attributes the lack of coverage partially to a lack of understanding that the Paralympics is something Americans want to watch. It’s her hope that double amputee Oscar Pistorius’ prominence in primetime during the Olympics will help. Mastandrea says his appearance certainly raises the level of awareness and may give Americans a new level