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Channel 4 scores 4x usual ratings with Paralympic opening ceremony

Ceremony watched by 7.6 million viewers, compared to 2.8 million for Beijing on the BBC 4 years ago.

Are the Paralympics only for wealthy countries?

The emergence of athletes in developing countries is hampered by expensive equipment and prejudice.

Audio: Ludwig Guttmann and the birth of the Paralympic Games

Our consultant sports historian Martin Polley introduces Ludwig Guttman, the Jewish neurosurgeon who fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and founded the Wheelchair Games at Stoke Mandeville Hospital for recovering veterans. The Games would later become what we know today as the Paralympics.

Pictures from the Paralympic opening ceremony

The Guardian’s pick of the best images from the awe-inspiring ceremony.

Pistorius becomes Beano star

Oscar Pistorius will appear in an upcoming edition of the Beano for an adventure with Dennis the Menace at the Paralympic Games. He follows in the footsteps of Jessica Ennis, who appeared on the front of the kids’ comic after her Olympic gold.

Channel 4 hopes for Paralympic gold

With a £500,000 search to find new disabled presenters, a pretty stunning marketing campaign, and 150 hours of live sports coverage, not to mentioned the delightful Clare Balding, Channel 4’s Paralympic coverage, starting tonight, is shaping up to be superb. All the same, the big test is yet to come, and after the BBC’s Olympic success, it has to clear a high bar. Can it?

They can't be disabled - they can swim

Mark Steel ponders the hypocrisy of Atos, the company stripping benefits from thousands of disabled people in the UK, being one of the Paralympics’ key sponsors.

Private Eye, Cover, Issue 1295, August 2011

Private Eye, Cover, Issue 1295, August 2011

Lance Armstrong drops doping defence

Cyclist, campaigner, cancer-survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has dropped his defence against charges of doping, all but admitting his successful performances were achieved with the help of banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Doping reared its ugly head at the Olympics this year, with several accusations being made against a number of athletes. With pharmaceutical advances being made all the time, any many drugs undetectable, it can be impossible to say for sure whether someone’s success is down to hard work or an illegal boost. But with Armstrong’s shadow cast over a lengthy and celebrated sports career, we can only wonder which athletes we are cheering today will turn out to be the cheats of tomorrow.

Who won in the "branding Olympics"?

You may have noticed Nike and Adidas waging an ad war throughout the Olympics. While Adidas stumped up a hundred million dollars to be an officially licensed ‘global partner’, Nike took a more covert route to brand awareness - sponsoring individual athletes and teams. Since the mid-1980s, the IOC have reaped significant rewards from renting out the iconic Olympic branding to Coke, BMW, McDonalds and other brands willing to put up the cash. But in an era of social media, conventional ad models are no longer watertight, and it has become harder for the IOC to restrict brands associating themselves with the Olympics, despite their best efforts. This interesting piece from Techbubbles demonstrates that through a sneaky social media campaign and a series of well-targeted sponsorship, Nike were able to outpace their rivals Adidas at online coverage. (Just as Dr Dre’s Beats headphones managed through some expert guerilla product placement). Which raises an interesting question - if it’s no longer worthwhile stumping up millions of dollars to become an official sponsor, will any of the multinational corporations backing London 2012 bother to show up in 4 years’ time? How long will it be before this model of advertising-sourced revenue becomes unsustainable, and the IOC will be left looking for another source of funding?

The DLR, our first fully accessible railway network, makes key links for Paralympics

The Docklands Light Railway has grown to be a key part of the world’s largest and most prestigious sporting event, as well as serving a rapidly expanding local community. And unlike the majority of the London Underground network, its stations are all fully accessible to those in wheelchairs.

Paralympic flame is lit in Snowdon

Cub scouts lit the travelling torch in heavy rain at the peak of Mount Snowdon. But how much coverage have you seen of this torch - silver to the Olympics’ gold?