The Paralympic Games is a major sporting event which features athletes from all of the major countries of the world. These games are different from the Olympics in that they feature athletes who have disabilities. The Paralympic games run in conjunction with the regular Olympic Games. Interestingly, the Paralympic Games were started by British WWII veterans in 1948. The games have grown considerably from these humble beginnings, and they are now considered to be one of the largest international sporting events in the world.
There is a wide range of disabilities that the athletes face in these games, so there are many different categories in which the athletes compete. The 6 main categories are amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, visually impaired and other categories which allow participants who have unspecified disabilities. The classification of disability system has not been without its controversies, however. Some athletes, or those representing them, have overstated their mental or physical conditions in order to achieve an unfair advantage during the competition. Measures have been installed to prevent this from happening in the future, as cheating does occur on all levels of sports.
The first Paralympic Games that was open to people besides war veterans as held in Rome in 1960. The 1960 games saw 400 different athletes compete from 23 countries. This event was marked with enthusiasm, and great hope for the future. Paralympic athletes usually mark the year 1976 as a milestone moment in the advancement of the games as well. This was the first games which allowed all athletes with disabilities, and not just ones confined to wheelchairs, to be able to compete against one another. As a result, this inclusion saw significant growth to 1,600 athletes from 40 different countries.
It is important to note that The Paralympic Games are held to recognize the athletic abilities of people, and not their disabilities. Many of the participants are extremely talented individuals in their own right, and some come close to matching the skill levels achieved in the Olympic Games. Today, over 3,900 athletes participate in the Paralympics. This is a testament to the dedication of the organizers, and to the athletes who put in long training hours in order to make it to this level. This event takes place the same years that the summer and winter Olympics are held. The participants love the level of competition, and recent years have shown that the skill level is increasing dramatically.
The motto for the Paralympic Games is Spirit in Motion. If you go to the event, you will notice a flag with the games’ symbol attached, representing the colors red, blue and green. One of the great aspects of the Paralympics is that they inspire other people. Those who are born with disabilities, or who experienced life-changing events due to injury, still have an outlet to display their athleticism. The next time these games are featured, take a moment to admire how skilled the athletes are. They perform with incredible amounts of drive and passion.