Carla Filomena Silva, P. Howe
Jan 26, 2012
Journal of Sport & Social Issues
This article provides a critical overview of the viability of the “supercrip” iconography as an appropriate representation of Paralympic athletes. It focuses on its validity as a vehicle for the empowerment of individuals with impairments both within the context of elite sport and broader society. This type of representation may be seen by the able moral majority as enlightened. However, supercrip narratives may have a negative impact on the physical and social development of disabled individuals by reinforcing what could be termed “achievement syndrome”—the impaired are successful in spite of their disability. The authors will focus on the implications of the use of language and images embodied in supercrip iconography, relying on examples of two European Paralympic awareness campaigns disseminated through mainstream media.