PC goes for the high jump

Par­a­lympians don’t want peo­ple to be overly pro­tec­tive, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

COMIC Lawrence Mooney plans to send po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness pack­ing when he joins a nightly panel show for the Lon­don 2012 Par­a­lympic Games.

‘‘I won’t pre­tend I’m a long-time fan who’s al­ways watched the Par­a­lympics. I come to the ABC’s Par­a­lympics cov­er­age as a con­vert,’’ he says.

Mooney, who has fea­tured in The Marn­grook Footy Show, the cheeky Match Com­mit­tee and the re­cent Agony Un­cles along­side fel­low pan­el­list Adam Zwar, got the job of in­tro­duc­ing view­ers to Aus­tralian Par­a­lympians via Kane & Dis­abled, an ir­rev­er­ent se­ries which aired in 10 five-minute parts on ABC2.

He did so play­ing a char­ac­ter called Ernie Kane, an in­sen­si­tive, mous­ta­chioed sports an­chor who might be a bet­ter fit for some of the sports pro­gram­ming that came out of the 1970s and early 1980s.

‘‘I guess the thing I’ve learned from Kane & Dis­abled is Par­a­lympians don’t want to be dealt with care­fully and talked about in hushed tones,’’ Mooney says.

‘‘Us normies might trip over our­selves and try to be cor­rect, but these dis­abled ath­letes, well they’re hardy crea­tures.

‘‘They haven’t been through what they’ve been through to be put up with dis­crim­i­na­tion and dumb­ness. They don’t need us to de­mean them by be­ing overly pro­tec­tive. These are peo­ple due re­spect and recog­ni­tion.’’

He tells the story of am­putee ath­lete Kelly Cartwright.

‘‘Aged 15, Kelly gets can­cer, this nor­mal run-of-the mill girl from Mel­bourne.

‘‘And as if be­ing 15 isn’t hard enough, she has to have an am­pu­ta­tion and deal with that as well.

‘‘And she de­cides she’s not go­ing to quit – in­stead she’s go­ing to be be­come a Par­a­lympian.

‘‘And then she works so hard on her pros­thetic leg, she has to have a sec­ondary am­pu­ta­tion. Sur­geons say there’s a so­lu­tion for her – to stop run­ning, but no one un­der­stands just how de­ter­mined Kelly is.

‘‘And that’s just one of 160 Aus­tralian sto­ries and thou­sands more like it that be­long to ath­letes who com­pete from all around the world.’’

Mooney may not want to play favourites but he can’t wait to see the mur­der­ballers in ac­tion.

‘‘They go hard. And no won­der. I sup­pose if you’re stuck in a wheel­chair you’d need to find a way to let your frus­tra­tion out.’’

The ABC will broad­cast more than 100 hours of Par­a­lympic ac­tion over 11 days, from the open­ing cer­e­mony this morn­ing to the clos­ing cer­e­mony on Septem­ber 10.

Karen Tighe hosts live daily cov­er­age.

Stephanie Brantz hosts the nightly high­lights show.

Sports re­porters Amanda Sha­lala, Clint Wheel­don, Gerry Collins, Peter Wilkins, Quentin Hull, Peter Walsh and Dar­ren Boyd will be joined by for­mer Aus­tralian Par­a­lympians Troy Sachs in wheel­chair bas­ket­ball and Heath Fran­cis, Amy Win­ters and Ka­t­rina Webb in ath­let­ics.

Lon­don 2012 Par­a­lympic Games: open­ing cer­e­mony: to­day, 5.20am, live ABC1; high­lights 6pm, ABC1; daily high­lights: 4am, ABC1; 7pm, ABC2; nightly high­lights: 6pm, ABC1; evening show: daily, 7pm, ABC2; clos­ing cer­e­mony: Mon­day, Septem­ber 10, 5.20am, ABC1.

Lawrence Mooney

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