Leveraging the London 2012 Paralympic Games to increase sports participation: The role of voluntary sports clubs

Dr Christopher Brown, Athanasios (Sakis) Pappous

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Purpose: This study investigates the extent to which English voluntary sports clubs leveraged the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and what impact leveraging had on the sports participation of people with disabilities (PwD) at clubs.

Research methods: Realist evaluation was used to frame the research. An online questionnaire was administered to English clubs between 27th January 2018 and 8th April 2018. 433 clubs completed the questionnaire.

Findings: Most clubs did not leverage the London 2012 Paralympics. Clubs that leveraged were more likely to have increased their PwD membership. Holding taster sessions was the most effective leveraging activity. Principal components analysis revealed two leveraging constraints: knowledge of disability, and resources to leverage. A one-way MANOVA revealed clubs from inclusively funded national governing bodies were more likely to be constrained by their limited knowledge of disability.

Implications: This study suggests specific disability provision at clubs was important to the successful leveraging of the 2012 Paralympics for increased sport participation of PwD. The intention and capacity of the club to support leveraging were also important factors.

Research contribution: This study produces empirical data on the role and effectiveness of clubs as sites for sport participation for PwD following the Paralympic Games.

Keywords: Voluntary sport clubs; Leveraging; People with disabilities; Paralympic legacy; Sport participation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalManaging Sport and Leisure
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2022


  • Voluntary sport clubs
  • Leveraging
  • People with disabilities
  • Paralympic legacy
  • Sport participation


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