Tiktok features diability

The site has generated worldwide buzz after posting dozens of clips on its feed featuring Paralympians performing around the world accompanied by comedic songs and novelty tracks.

One such example includes a single-leg long jumper bounding to complete his jump. The clip is accompanied by a soundtrack that features the lyrics “I say right foot” on repeat and sped up.

Another clip includes footage of a wheelchair basketball game accompanied by a description that says “Crank that Soulja Boy”. As a player can be seen falling out of their chair, the accompanying voiceover says “There will be times in life when you crank that soulja boy and there will be other times when that soldier boy cranks you. Respond accordingly”.

View Count

The site has a core following of around 3.3 million viewers, however its actions have prompted many of its videos to go viral, attracting upwards of 39 million views.

Which account?

What has surprised many is that the videos are being posted on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) official account, seemingly counteracting the more conservative approach to social media adopted by many of its fellow organisations.

Reactions to the videos have been mixed. However, the vast majority of people living with disability believe the videos have a positive impact, stating they enjoy the sense of humour being shown by owners of the account and begging for more content.

Hacking Investigation

In seeking to find out whether the account had been hacked, the BBC queried the committee and was told that the person in charge of the site is "a Paralympian who fully understands disability" and who has "created a strong following through edgy and unique content”.

The IPC told the BBC that while not everyone would appreciate the content, its aim in taking this approach is to "educate an audience who might be less aware of Paralympic sport and the achievements of our athletes". 

Words from the professional

British Paralympic table tennis player Jack Hunter-Spivey agreed. Hunter-Spivey, who won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, told the BBC he believed the IPC was doing a good job raising the profile of disability sports and argued the intention behind the videos is coming from a good place.

He says Paralympians are often portrayed as inspirational, "and in our own right, we definitely are" but could also make jokes as well.

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