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Disabled climber reaches new heights to promote Paralympic Games

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(More pictures below the article)

A disabled climber who lost both hands and feet in a mountaineering accident has today [Friday August 24] become the first man to scale the outside of the Olympic Stadium to promote the Paralympic Games.

Jamie Andrew, 43, used a ‘jumar' rope climbing system to ascend the outside structure of the main Stadium from the concourse level in just over ten minutes, reaching a height of more than 160 feet, before abseiling down.

The climb promotes the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony which will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Wednesday August 29th from 8pm. It aimed to highlight the extraordinary abilities of disabled athletes ahead of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Scottish mountaineer Jamie lost both hands and feet to severe frostbite after becoming trapped on the north face of Les Droites in the Mont Blanc massif in January 1999. He was finally airlifted to safety after four nights in temperatures of -30°C, although amputation of all four limbs was required to save his life from septic shock.

Since the accident, Andrew has climbed Kilimanjaro, run the London Marathon and walked up Ben Nevis to raise money for charity, and continues to fulfil his love for extreme sports such as paragliding and caving. He was also a Torchbearer in Edinburgh for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

To climb with his prosthetic limbs, he traditionally uses the jumar system, which is a common mechanical device used for ascending a fixed rope instead of climbing directly on the surface, and allowed Jamie to pull himself up the rope which was attached to the Stadium itself.

Jamie said: "The Stadium will be the centre-piece for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games on Wednesday and I wanted to highlight the tremendous strength and ability of the disabled athletes we will all be watching from next week. Returning to climbing following the accident has been my greatest challenge, and it has been such an honour to be the first person to ascend the Stadium to promote the Paralympic Games."

The London 2012 Paralympic Games will be the biggest event in Channel 4's history. Close to 500 hours of live coverage will be broadcast during the twelve days of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, marking the most extensive Paralympic Games coverage ever broadcast in the UK.

The live sport will be broadcast across Channel 4, More4 and online at Channel4.com. Three further live streams will feature uninterrupted live coverage of events from across the Paralympic Games, broadcast on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media. The coverage will be hosted by a ground-breaking team. Half of the presenters and reporters in the Channel 4 line-up will be disabled - including eight new faces drawn from a nationwide talent search.

ENDS

Video footage of the climb is available on request. Jamie Andrew is also available for interview. For all press enquiries, please see the contacts link on this page (registered users only).

Notes to Editors:

Channel 4 talent search for disabled presenters

As part of Channel 4's pledge to bring disability sport to a mainstream audience and add authenticity, knowledge and experience to the coverage, the broadcaster launched a nationwide talent search in September 2010, to identify the best new disabled sports reporters and commentators to front the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The channel committed £500,000 to the search in order to reach its target of 50% disabled onscreen talent during the Games. Hopefuls from around the country were able to apply to the talent search by answering the question: "If you had three minutes of Channel 4 air time, what would you fill it with?" Entries were submitted as YouTube videos.

Channel 4 Broadcast Partners

BT is the official communications services partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. BT has a history of support of disability sport within the UK spanning over twenty years when it became the first commercial partner of the British Paralympic Association (BPA) in 1989. Channel 4, in partnership with BT, recently launched a series of short films featuring a number of BT's ambassador athletes which focused on their mental and physical approach to competing and training.

Sainsbury's is the official supermarket partner of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the first ever Paralympic Games-only sponsor. The brand recently announced international footballer David Beckham as their official Paralympic ambassador to encourage children to take part in several of Sainsbury's initiatives, including the Million Kids Challenge and Active Kids 2012. Sainsbury's have also worked with Channel 4 to produce two series of short films with their ambassador athletes, including Ellie Simmonds.

Production Partners

Channel 4's Paralympic coverage will be produced by two of the UK's leading specialist sports production companies, Sunset & Vine and IMG Sports Media, drawing on their considerable experience of multi-discipline sporting events.

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