Paralympics website ‘hacked’ during streaming of Rio 2016 opening ceremony

September 9, 2016

By Christian Radnedge in Rio

Millions of people who tuned in to watch the Rio 2016 Paralympics opening ceremony on the International Paralympic Committee’s website on Wednesday were let down after hackers disrupted proceedings.

The IPC’s director of communications Craig Spence confirmed to iSportconnect that the website had been subjected to “hack attacks” at a time when they were meant to be exclusively streaming the ceremony from Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium.

Speaking after a media briefing at the Paralympic Village, Spence was optimistic that the website should work with few problems over the next week as the site streams the sporting action of the Games.

“We suffered a couple of hack attacks which we are working with our website provider today to find out what it was,” Spence said. “We’re confident now that everything has been rectified and it should work.”

The International Olympic Committee last month launched their much-anticipated Olympic channel and there was an opportunity to have the Paralympics opening ceremony broadcast on it as one of the first big programmes for the channel.


However Spence said that the IPC decided against this to handle broadcasting themselves.

He said: “We had the option to put it on the Olympic channel. We chose not to because we wanted to have a bit of exclusivity, to have it on our Paralympics website.

“We’re streaming 680 hours on our website and what’s really pleasing is, despite our website went down, three times as many people watched the ceremony on our channel last night as did in London 2012. So I think that’s great progress despite the problems we had with the site last night.”

With competition getting underway on Thursday, organisers were lauding the fact that they have now passed the 1.7million mark for tickets sold – which means Rio overtakes Beijing as the second biggest Paralympic Games ever.


Rio 2016 still hope to sell out all 2.5 million tickets before the closing ceremony on September 18. However, even if they do they will still fall short of overcoming London 2012’s record total of 2.7m tickets sold.

The IPC also confirmed on Thursday that a Belarusian official who carried a Russian flag into the opening ceremony has had his accreditation revoked.

The individual was a guest of the Belarus National Paralympic Committee and brandished the flag as a protest against Russia’s exclusion from the Games over state-sponsored doping allegations.

Spence said the IPC had removed the individual’s accreditation and that they would give the Belarus NPC a “warning” about political protests.

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