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Paralympic Awareness 2021

2021 Impact Report - Community Growth

The U.S. and Canadian Men's Sled Hockey Team shake hands at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The Paralympic Games represent inclusion through the infinite possibility of sport. The incredible talent and strength of Team USA Paralympic athletes highlight the best of our country's diverse abilities and backgrounds.

In 2021, the USOPC launched the organization’s first dedicated campaign to elevate awareness of the Paralympic Movement. We partnered with NBCUniversal to create groundbreaking live coverage of the Paralympic Trials and increase Games coverage.

Brad Snyder and guide Greg Billington emerge from the water during the men's PTVI triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

"For the first time in my paralympic career, we were competing live in front of a lot of people in the U.S., all watching in prime time, super stoked about it. We say that sports for us is a service; if we do it in a vacuum, we’re not really serving anybody. So it’s important for it to be shared, for spectators, our family, our community, to live that journey with us.”


To further build excitement for the Paralympic Games, Show the World launched across a range of channels including broadcast, social and digital media as part of the We Are Team USA campaign.

Unprecedented NBC Universal Programming

  • Showcased an unprecedented 1,200 hours of Paralympic programming of the Tokyo Games.

  • Increase from 70 hours for the Rio 2016 Games and 5.5 hours for the London 2012 Games.

  • Included the network’s first-ever primetime broadcasts, more than 200 hours of TV coverage among NBC, NBCSN and the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and over 1,000 hours of live streaming across 19 sports on NBC’s digital platforms.

  • Fans responded enthusiastically and expressed a desire for Paralympians to receive more airtime, which we will achieve for future Games.

Compared with the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games:


Broadcast viewership


Social engagement


Web search activity




Net sentiment

Femita Ayanbeku mid-race at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“Being a part of this campaign means people will get to see that disability does not mean inability. We are stronger than our physical differences and it’s time for us to show the world.”


In addition to the dedicated campaign to drive Paralympic awareness, the USOPC partnered with Toyota to create a first-of-its-kind program: providing financial support for every member of the U.S. Paralympic Team through a $5M fund, $3.7M of which was received in 2021, to help athletes pursue their dreams.

The Tokyo Paralympic Games also marked the first summer Games where Team USA Paralympians received equal pay for winning a medal compared to their fellow Team USA Olympians, placing more than $4.4 million in the hands of U.S. Paralympic medalists. The USOPC enacted this long-overdue change in September 2018, and applied it retroactively to Paralympic medalists from the 2018 Games.

  • In 2021, the election of USOPC’s Chief of Paralympic Sport, Julie Dussliere, to serve as treasurer of the Americas Paralympic Committee, and the re-election of seven-time Paralympic medalist and USOPC board member Muffy Davis to the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board underscored the ongoing contribution from the U.S. to the international Paralympic community.