This year we have the Olympic games – the World’s biggest sporting event. But in quick succession is the Paralympics, now the third largest sporting event. Some quip that the Olympics is the warm-up or the test event for the Paralympics. Well this week’s guest is one of the greatest stalwarts and servant of the Paralympics, my good friend and close colleague Nik Diaper. It’s difficult to overstate the impact that Nik has had on the domain of disabled sport, from the days when frankly very few people were interested, through to it becoming not only respected, but revered.
In this insightful episode, the focus is on Nik Diaper, an instrumental figure in the world of Paralympic sports. From initially having no intention of pursuing a career in the field to becoming one of its most significant contributors, Nik’s journey is nothing short of inspiring.
The conversation begins with Nik discussing his early sporting history in Kenya and his move to the United States to chase his dream in swimming. Eventually, he relocated to Manchester, and although Paralympic sports weren’t his initial career choice, he found himself drawn into it, initially feeling out of his depth but gradually becoming a central figure in the domain.
One of the main topics is the evolution of perception around disability sports. Nik delves into how the Paralympics have grown from being relatively obscure to a respected and eagerly anticipated global event. He talks about the impact of the 2020 Paralympics and what made the London Paralympics so transformative in changing societal views on disability sports.
Nik brings up some thought-provoking questions about what it means to be disabled and discusses the ongoing debates around this term. He also talks about the technological advances in para-sport, outlining both their benefits and the ethical questions they raise.
The conversation is as unfussy and humble as Nik himself—traits that make him a respected figure not only in his professional world but also in his personal life as a quality athlete. In essence, the interview explores Nik’s search for a deeper meaning in his work and his belief in the value that Paralympic sports bring to society at large.
By the end, listeners will walk away with a deeper understanding of the intricacies of Paralympic sports, the shifts in societal perception, and the enormous impact individuals like Nik have had in taking the sport from the margins to the mainstream.
In this interview I discuss with Nik what drew him to parasport, what resonated with him and what has endured. Nik shares his perspectives on why disability sport has caught the imagination of sports fans, general public and global audiences alike. He shares his search for meaning amongst some of life’s broader questions and why what he does can add value to society.
Now I cycle most weekends with Nik and he is a quality athlete, which I know to my suffering. This interview was in many ways like how he rides – unfussy, humble, deliberate in delivering a powerful effect.
Nik discusses his sporting history in Kenya
Moving to the US to pursue his swimming dream
The move to Manchester
Nik had no intention of pursuing a career in Paralympic sport
Entering Para sport and feeling completely out of his depth
The Paralympics 2020 and the step change in perception for disability sport
What made London so successful and it’s legacy?
What does it mean to be disabled? – the debate!
What were the reasons for sticking with Paralympic sport if it wasn’t your first choice?
Stand out para moments for Nik
Technological advances in para-sport and the ramifications
What more needs to be done and Nik’s hopes and ambitions?
Nik on Twitter
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Steve Ingham on Twitter
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