They have come a long way in the past five decades and are now a fully vested partner in the Olympic movement. Sponsorship is a key element in the expanding presence of the Paralympics. Samsung signed on last week as a worldwide partner and official sponsor. “The Paralympic Games is part of the Olympic movement,” says Samsung vice-president Gyehyun Kwon, the company’s head of worldwide sports marketing. “It’s inseparable.” Samsung is joining sponsors Visa, tech company Atos Origin, and Otto Bock, a German healthcare company. The door is now opened to approach other sponsors. Carla Qualtrough, the head of the Canadian Paralympics says: “You can get a lot more bang for your buck when you sponsor the Paralympic side. There’s not as many rules, there’s not as many conditions (as with Olympic sponsorship).”
The Vancouver Paralympics are experiencing a lot of firsts: The first time the word Paralympic has been in the organizing committee’s name, the first time the Olympic and Paralympic flags have flown side by side at city hall, and the first Paralympic countdown clock. “The more people become aware of Paralympic sports- whether it be sponsors or the public or some child with a disability sitting on his couch at home, or their parents – the more you’ll understand it, the more you’ll want to become involved in it,” says Qualtrough.
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