From left: Rick Edwards, Jon Snow, Ade Adepitan, Clare Balding, Adam Hills, Daraine Mulvihill, Jonathan Edwards, Arthur Williams, Alex Brooker and Kelly Kates. Photograph: Channel 4
Reposted from The Guardian
The Paralympian turned television presenter Ade Adepitan has praised Channel 4 for giving a new roster of disabled people a chance in front of the camera, as the broadcaster announced a presenting team for the London Paralympics which includes seven largely unknown discoveries from a nationwide talent search undertaken in 2010.
"I think it's fantastic," said Adepitan, who will anchor the coverage along with Clare Balding. "For me, if Channel 4 hadn't won the rights I don't think it would have been possible for this amount of disabled talent to show their skills on TV. They bring a different angle and experience, not only knowing about disability sport but also about people with disabilities. I think they'll add another layer and another perspective, and they'll be able to say things which no able-bodied presenter would be able to say."
Adepitan said that Channel 4's plans had changed considerably during two years of planning for the event. "They initially spoke to me in 2010. They had thought of trying to bid for the Paralympics and then the ideas evolved in the last two years," he said. "It soon became evident that you should be looking to have disabled presenters doing your coverage. It would be ridiculous to show Premier League football without having some ex-footballers involved; why shouldn't you do the same with the Paralympics?"
Channel 4's coverage will also feature Rick Edwards, who has presented four series of That Paralympic Show, the disabled Australian comedian Adam Hills, the 2000 Olympic triple jump champion and world-record holder Jonathan Edwards, and the former Sky Sports News presenters Kelly Cates and Georgie Bingham.
The newscaster Jon Snow will anchor coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies. The majority of the 150 hours Channel 4 has committed to broadcasting will be on the main channel, with the remainder on More4.
Balding brings extensive experience, having worked on the past three Paralympic Games with the BBC. "Sydney was the first one I did, and I saw what effect it had in Australia, which was a sport-loving country which had not been that engaged with the Paralympics," she said. "This changes the way people think. It has enormous power, particularly with kids. There's a great responsibility, to tell the athletes' stories really well and follow them through to their enormous, unscripted climax in the Games."
She has also been involved in bringing through Channel 4's new intake. "I came along the other day and met everybody and did what they ambitiously call a masterclass," she said. "My partner said: 'They should just call it a class.'"
Adepitan hopes that the team will have a long-term effect on the way future Games are broadcast, starting in Rio four years from now. "I'm hoping we'll leave a legacy," he said. "The Brazilian TV companies have already come out specifically to see what we're doing. We're setting the benchmark, saying: 'This is how it should be done.'"