I think it is probably a reflection of the attitude in the U.S. that top athletes are to be idolized.
Sure, but what I'm saying is that the top disabled athletes are top athletes. So it's appropriate to idolize them, if you want to. Personally I feel respect and admiration for my sporting 'heroes', I don't really idolize them.
And instead of just embracing people with physical characteristics that are different from the "perfect" athlete, we tend to feel sorry for them, and pity them.
That's understandable as an initial reaction, but you have to move through that. The fact is, disabled people don't tend to spend their time feeling sorry for themselves and wallowing in self-pity. So they don't want you to spend your time feeling sorry for them.
It's very interesting what's happening here in the UK. The general public seems to have decided, quite suddenly, to treat the Paralympics as an ordinary sporting event, to be appreiciated on its own merits.
On Thursday, over 6 million people here (10% of the population) watched one-legged 19-year-old Brit Jonnie Peacock win the 100 metres in 10.9 seconds, 80,000 of them in the Stadium. He was on the front pages of the papers the next day.
Jonnie is now a national hero; he's also young, fit, handsome and marketable.
I'm pretty sure that if you told Jonnie right now that you felt sorry for him, he would give you a rather quizzical look....
For our family, the first time I had ever heard the term Paralympics was this year, during the Olympics.
Here in the UK, the Paralympics entered national consciousness around 2000, mainly through the efforts of Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won 11 gold medals wheel-chair racing between '92 and '04. In 2000, she was voted 3rd Place in the BBC's annual poll of Sports Personality of the Year, which is voted on by the public.
Tanni G-T kept the concept in the public eye after her retirement from racing, by proving to be rather good at sports administration, to the extent that in 2010 she was made a Life Peer and now sits in the House of Lords, passing laws and so on.
The Paralympics also got a lot of publicity in 2008, because of the feats of 13-year-old Ellie Simmonds, the youngest member of our team, who won two swimming gold medals.
This year she was the poster girl for the Games, as Jessica Ennis was in the Olympics. Under a huge weight of expectation, she competed in four events, winning two gold, one silver and a bronze.
She's a four-foot tall idol.
Not only did I not realize it was such a large event, but I did not know how hard these athletes worked, and how skilled they are. I honestly thought it was like many events held in local cities, where kids get to compete....
But why should you know about it, if the event is only shown on your TV for four hours? Your TV guys (and the advertisers) think there's no market for the Paralympics, so they don't show them. So the question is, is there a potential market in the US, or not? I'd like to think there is...