Historically, the Paralympic Games has been a mere cool down following the running of the main event.
A smaller number of ticket sales, reduced media coverage, sporadic conversations and a flicker of attention was all they garnered.
London 2012 has changed that.
Pre-ticket sales reached 2.3m, the most ever for the Paralympics and up from 1.19m in Beijing four years ago. By the end of the stunning closing ceremony, headlined by Coldplay and featuring the likes of Rihanna, each event had sold out. It was the first ever Paralympic Games not to be run at a loss.
The media coverage and success of the London 2012 Olympics undoubtedly helped the nation, and international community, carry on riding the wave of the sizzling summer of British sport.
But it would be rash to solely place credit at the feet of the Olympics for the huge interest that was generated for the ParalympicsGB squad.
In the run-up to the games and during the 11 days of competition, sponsors and official partners used their position to perfectly capture the nation’s imagination.
Campaigns and media relations focused on the athletes and the events they were aiming to strike gold in. There was the odd background story for Iraq war veterans or 7/7 survivors competing, but at the heart of all PR activity was the Paralympians and their amazing sporting achievements prior to London.
Channel 4’s trailer for the games, Meet the Superhumans, was a fascinating watch for all and struck the right balance. It hit the centre of human emotion and anyone watching felt nothing less than admiration towards the athletes.
Gone was the stigma surrounding disability and sports.
The conversation online was bulging, constant and full of national pride. The Twittersphere certainly did not lose interest after Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and others wowed the crowds earlier in the month.
The sell-out stadiums were just as deafening and the media just as interested in having the latest Paralympic story as their headline.
The London 2012 legacy was to inspire a generation. This has reached more people than Seb Coe could have possibly imagined. The inspiration spread like wildfire through the Olympics and right up until the flame was extinguished at the Paralympics. It’s a safe assumption to say that the fire that has been stoked in the bellies of all potential athletes is still burning strong.
Julie Neville, wife of Everton footballer Phil and mother to Isabella, who has cerebral palsy, said in a recent interview: “The Paralympics has shown her that people with disabilities can become elite athletes and achieve sporting success, and for us that is priceless.”
Thanks to well thought-out PR strategies that were impeccably executed, the Paralympic Games has now been elevated to main event status.