Paralympians revealed as the most inspirational athletes for children

05 March 2018

  • Paralympians topped a poll of the most inspirational athletes for children and young people (31%), miles ahead of footballers (9%) and rugby players (5%)
  • 60% of UK adults see themselves as being risk-averse with more of us (69%) believing we’re less likely to take risks than we did a decade ago

Paralympians are the most inspirational athletes for children and young people[1] according to new research published by Virgin Media.

It comes as Virgin Media announces a gold-tier partnership with the British Paralympic Association (BPA) with the ParalympicsGB team competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games which begin this Friday (9 March).\n\n 

The company is supporting Britain’s Paralympians as they go for gold at these Winter Games and at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Fearless athletes provide inspiration for a risk-averse nation

Virgin Media and the BPA want to help shift people’s perceptions of disability, and encourage the nation to become braver, inspired by our Paralympic athletes.

The research found Paralympians are considered to be the most fearless athletes (31%), compared to rugby players (18%) and footballers (4%).

In contrast, the findings show that 60% of UK adults describe themselves as being risk-averse, with 69% saying people are scared of the consequences of taking risks. Two thirds say they do not take risks because they are worried about failing. Almost seven in ten people believe we are less likely to take risks as a nation than we did ten years ago.

However, two thirds acknowledged taking risks can pay off and lead to success, with more than half of us pleased to have challenged ourselves after taking a leap of faith.

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said:

This is a very proud moment for everyone at Virgin Media. We’re supporting our sensational Paralympians whose mindset and attitude – Be Fearless – is inspiring. We can’t wait to see our incredible athletes unleash their potential in PyeongChang.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, commented:

With the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games just days away it is a wonderful boost to be able to announce this exciting new partnership with Virgin Media.

We know ParalympicsGB athletes are amongst the most inspirational and the most fearless figures in public life and their success can have a real impact by challenging perceptions of what disabled people can achieve.

This complements the work that Virgin Media already does through its partnership with Scope, the disability charity, to transform the lives of disabled people in the UK. Last year, Virgin Media and Scope launched a ground-breaking initiative ‘Work With Me; to support one million disabled people get into and stay in work by the end of 2020.

As part of this, Virgin Media is funding the charity’s new employment service, ‘Support to Work’ which aims to reach one million disabled people with employment information and support by the end of 2020.


Notes to Editors

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 2,026 respondents aged 16+ in GB between 19.02.2018 - 23.02.2018.  The survey was conducted from a random sample of UK adults.  Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

For all Virgin Media press enquiries please contact;  / 0333 000 2900 @VirginMediaCorp

About Virgin Media

Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.

Our dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely-available broadband speeds to homes and businesses and we’re expanding this through our Project Lightning programme, which will extend our network to 17 million premises.

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About the British Paralympic Association and ParalympicsGB

The British Paralympic Association is the National Paralympic Committee for the UK, responsible for the promotion of the Paralympic movement in Great Britain and selecting, entering and funding the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic team.

ParalympicsGB is the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic Team competing at the summer and winter Paralympic Games. We know that the outstanding performances of our athletes have a powerful impact on the British public and can shift perceptions of disability in society, helping to inspire a better world for disabled people.

Our partners are tremendous supporters of the BPA and ParalympicsGB both through direct funds as well as their own fundraising activity. Further details are available at

[1] Paralympians are the most inspirational sportspeople for children and young people (30%) compared to Olympians (21%), footballers (9%), rugby players (5%) and cricketers (2%).

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