The Paralympic games are a series of international contests for athletes with disabilities that are associated with and held following the summer and winter Olympic games. The preposition of “para” is from Greek for “beside”, and therefore the games are always with the summer and winter games.

The first games were held in Rome, Italy back in 1960. It had featured over 400 athletes from 23 countries. Now the games have over 4,000 athletes from 163 counties. Before 1992, the location of the Paralympics wasn’t where the Olympics are. However, with the 1992 Winter games in Albertville the Paralympics were in the same city as the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee and The International Paralympic Committee started a policy, “one bid, one city”. The concept was at if you wanted to host the Olympics, you should be hosting the Paralympics.

All the athletes are grouped together by “the degree of activity limitation” resulting from their impairment. In other words, into 6 different groups that are based on their disability. 

These groups are:

  1.  Amputee
  2. Cerebral Palsy
  3. Intellectual Disability 
  4. Visually Impaired
  5. Spinal Injuries
  6. Les Autres – that’s French for The Others. 

Just like the Olympic games, there is an international committee that oversees running and operation of the games. They also make sure that all athletes heed to the rules of the games that are set forth by the committee. For the Paralympic games the committee is called International Paralympic Committee. They also approve all the national teams that compete at the games.

Summer sports in the Paralympic games include:

  • Archery
  • Athletics  
    • These sports have gone under a variety of names such as: disability athletics and disability track and field
    • For the events, any athlete that is Deaf typically competes together. Meanwhile, all other athletes with either a physical or intellectual disability are assessed and compete based on their ability.  
    • There are two sports that are featured that aren’t in the regular Olympics. These two sports are wheelchair racing and club throw.
    • Club Throw
      • This event is the Paralympic event of hammer throw which is in the Olympics. In this event, the objective is to throw a wooden club. Unlike other throwing events that decide the winner based on who can throw the farthest, this one uses a point system called the Raza Points System to decide the winner.
    • Wheelchair racing
      • Simply put it is the racing of wheelchairs in track and road races. These races are open to all athletes with any type of disability such as amputees, spinal cord injuries and cerebral palsy. Those that are partially sighted can compete when they have another disability. 
      • Wheelchair racing as been apart of the summer Paralympics since 1960. 
  • Badminton
  • Boccia
  • Canoeing 
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Football 5-a-side / soccer 5-a-side
    • This game is an adaption of the regular 5-a-side football or 5-a-side soccer. This game is played by those who are totally blind or have some sort of visual impairment. This sport as been in the Paralympics since the summer games in 2004.
  • Goalball
  • Judo
  • Powerlifting
  • Rowing
  • Shooting para sport
  • Sitting volleyball
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Triathlon
  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair fencing
  • Wheelchair rugby
  • Wheelchair tennis

These games motive those who have disabilities, either physically or intellectually. I find as a person that doesn’t have any need to be apart of these games motivational to push myself to do things, I never thought I can do.

Good luck to all the athletes and their nations. 

 

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