PC goes for the high jump
Paralympians don’t want people to be overly protective, writes
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.