Drawing on a case study of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, this article examines the extent to which the hosting of an integrated parasport event where able-bodied athletes and athletes with a disability compete alongside one another is being leveraged to create opportunities for community participation, and influence community attitudes towards disability. The assumption about hosting parasport events is that the mere visibility of events will impact attitudes and perceptions towards persons with disabilities in a positive manner; however, little evidence beyond anecdotes supports this assumption. Recent research on leveraging events also suggests the need to strategically utilize the opportunity of the event and related resources if seeking to attain sustainable positive impacts for the host community [Chalip, L. 2006. “Towards Social Leverage of Sport Events.” Journal of Sport & Tourism 11 (2): 109–127. doi:10.1080/14775080601155126]. Empirically, this article draws on extensive data collection undertaken before, during and after the 2014 Commonwealth Games, specifically an analysis of policy and legacy planning documents and strategic interviews conducted pre-Games examining the tactics, strategies and programmes used by stakeholders to enhance community participation opportunities. The results suggest that whilst at the strategic level there was evidence of an integrated policy approach to leveraging the event for broader accessibility outcomes, this was not always accompanied by clear programmes or projects that are likely to lead to demonstrable impacts beyond the normal temporality of large-scale sporting events. We conclude by suggesting that the absence of clear, resourced and measurable aspirations for the parasport element of the Games may lead to unfulfilled leveraging possibilities as levels of interest and resources diminish.
Misener, L., McGillivray, D., McPherson, G., & Legg, D. (2015). Leveraging parasport events for sustainable community participation: the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Annals of Leisure Research, 18(4), 450-469. https://doi.org/10.1080/11745398.2015.1045913