She’s a lady; he’s an athlete; they have overcome: Portrayals of gender and disability in the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games


This article examines the media's representation of Paralympic athletes. Using an intersectional lens, this study shows the duel oppressions faced by women disabled athletes.


This qualitative content analysis of the National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC’s) coverage of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games sought to examine how the broadcasters framed the intersection of gender and disability in Alpine skiing coverage.

The researchers found that athletes’ disabilities were framed in a medicalized way, as something they should “overcome,” and that Paralympic athletes with disabilities were portrayed as inferior to able-bodied athletes. Results also showed that women athletes received less coverage than the men, that women athletes were placed into traditional gender role frames, and that women were portrayed in a sexualized manner. The researchers discovered that while Olympic Games media coverage has been dominated by women in recent years, the Paralympic Games coverage oppressed women athletes with disabilities by stereotyping and marginalizing them, and stigmatized both male and female athletes with disabilities by framing them as aspiring to be able-bodied. Women athletes with disabilities were doubly stereotyped and marginalized by their sex and disabled status--highlighting the intersection of gender and disability. The authors also make recommendations to improve coverage of disabled women athletes.

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