Paralympics is a competition where athletes compete in different sports like in the Olympics. The main difference between the Olympics and Paralympics is that the competitors all have some form of disability. It can be impaired muscle strength, reduced mobility or the athlete can be missing a leg or an arm. Paralympics is, like the Olympics, divided into summer and winter games. After the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea in 1988, Paralympics was held directly after at the same location. All Paralympics are run by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Paralympics has grown enormously and become a big part of sports in the world. It all started in England in 1948, during the time after World War II when British war veterans competed in different sports. Since the beginning of the 21st century the competition is one of the biggest ones in the world. From 1960, when there were about 400 competitors from 23 nations, until today, the Paralympics has grown a lot. Today there are several thousands of competitors from more than a hundred counties. Paralympics strive to reach equality to healthy competitors but today there is a large gap between the Olympic and the Paralympic competitors. Paralympics is arranged parallel to the Olympics and even though the competitions are held after the “real” Olympics it is not quite the same and has yet to be acknowledged by the IOC, the International Olympics Committee. There is also a competition called “Special Olympic World Games” where competitors suffer from intellectual limitations. There is also a competition called Deaflympics for those with serious hearing losses or are completely deaf.
Since the disabilities are so different from athlete to athlete, there are different classes for different disabilities. These classes are ten to the number and consists of Impaired muscle power, Limb deficiency, Short stature, Impaired passive range of movement, Leg length difference, Ataxia, Hypertonia, Athetosis, Intellectual impairment and Vision impairment. These classes are each divided into different classes but that varies for every sport.
Milestones in the history of Paralympics
There are lots of milestones in the history of Paralympics. A substantial example is the competition in Rome in 1960. This was the first competition where there was a chance for other competitors than war veterans to join in the game. Since then the Paralympics has chimed in at the same year as the Olympics. In the beginning, Paralympics was only for those bound to wheelchairs but in the summer games in 1976 athletes with other impairments were allowed to compete. The most important milestone in the Paralympics history are the summer games in 1988 in Seoul. This was the first time it was held right after the “real” Olympics, at the same place, and the athletes got to use the same facilities as the Olympic athletes. When it comes to winter games, the same was achieved in Albertville in 1992.
The agreement with the IOC
IPC, the International Paralympic Committee, wrote an agreement with the IOC, the International Olympics committee, in 2001 to make the cities that are chosen to hold the Olympics are also contracted to hold the Paralympics as well. Initially the agreement was until the summer games in 2012 but has been successively extended. The agreement between the organisations has evolved to a rule so that arranging countries know that the Paralympics has its place right after the Olympics. There is an arrangement between the organisations lasting until the summer games of 2032.