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Every four years the Olympics take place, the biggest and most popular sporting championship on the planet. In addition to the traditional competitions, the world also witnesses the Paralympics, created to promote inclusion in sport.

In the Paralympics, or Paralympics, people with physical, visual or intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to show their skills in adapted versions of the sports we already know.

The Paralympic Games take place right after the Olympic Games and attract attention from all over the world. If you’re curious to find out more about the event, you’re in the right place! We’ve prepared a guide for you to find out all about the Paralympics and stay on top of the competitions.

Check it out 👇

All about the Paralympics: origins and history

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Find out all about the Paralympic Games!

Before we understand more about how the Paralympics work, let’s take a look at their historical context. The Paralympic Games originated in Stoke Mandeville, England, in 1948.

It all began when a German neurologist called Ludwig Guttmann, who worked in the German town’s hospital, dedicated himself to treating the health of war veterans. These patients had suffered serious consequences of the violence, such as spinal cord injuries, which impaired their movement.

To help these veterans recover, the neurologist began to explore sports. This form of rehabilitation began to have an effect, so Guttmann created a sports competition to run alongside the Olympic Games. That year, the Olympics were being held in London.

The idea was well received and 19 athletes with spinal cord injuries competed. The sports contested were archery, darts and table tennis. Although the aim was to focus on the rehabilitation of patients, the Stoke Mandeville Games were a success!

Over the following years, the games evolved, gaining more fans and new sports. Soon, the modern Paralympics was born, with the first edition taking place in 1960 in Rome, Italy. The championship was attended by 400 athletes from 23 different countries.

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All about the Paralympics: what is the purpose of the competition?

The Paralympics are very important competitions for our society, and they have several objectives. The first of these, of course, is to promote inclusion, showing that people with disabilities, whether intellectual, physical or visual, also have abilities that need to be valued and recognized.

The Paralympic Games are also important for equality between human beings, putting prejudice aside. The competitions prove, once and for all, that people with disabilities deserve to be in safe spaces and feel able to compete at the same level of difficulty as athletes without these conditions.

The more inclusion and equality are promoted, the more respect is seen in society. The Paralympics break down stereotypes and are the first step towards ending prejudice.

The Paralympic Games also inspire future athletes to follow their dreams of competing, overcoming their limitations and training to achieve their sporting goals.

One of the most important objectives of the Paralympics is also to raise awareness among the population, especially among people who have no contact with those who have some kind of disability.

Through the games, many people can see the need to bring inclusion into the lives of these people and understand the importance of this.

All about the Paralympics: categories and sports

The sports practiced at the Paralympics are divided into five categories: hearing, intellectual, visual, physical and mixed disabilities. Shall we find out more about each of them?

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Wheelchair basketball is one of the sports at the Paralympics

Hearing impairment

At the Paralympics, people with total or partial hearing loss can take part in adapted competitions in sports such as swimming, volleyball, indoor soccer, athletics and judo, among others.

During the games, the players have the help of a sign language interpreter, who will guide them through the start of the competition, the end, among other important warnings.

Intellectual disability

As with hearing impairment, sports for people with intellectual disabilities are adapted. With the help of coaches and assistants, these athletes are able to compete fairly and equally.

Not all competitors always have the same type of disability, but they do need to be similar. To achieve this, athletes undergo classification tests.

Visual impairment

Among the sports competed in by people with complete or partial visual impairment are goalball, table tennis, judo, alpine skiing, athletics, among others. They are also adapted versions of common sports.

At the Paralympic Games, athletes also have the help of guides who help them, verbally and physically, to find their way around the competition.

Physical disabilities

In the category of physically disabled athletes, the Paralympics include sports such as tennis, basketball, fencing and wheelchair rugby, as well as adapted rowing, swimming and others.

In these disciplines, competitors have the use of sports wheelchairs, as well as prostheses adapted for the sports, different ramps for access, among other important equipment.

Mixed disabilities

Athletes with more than one type of disability can also take part in the Paralympics. Among the sports practiced are equestrian, modern pentathlon and others.

See the list of sports that can be competed in at the Paralympics:

  • Athletics;
  • Wheelchair basketball;
  • Badminton;
  • Biathlon;
  • Bobsleigh;
  • Bocce;
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Wheelchair curling
  • Wheelchair fencing
  • Alpine skiing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Five-a-side soccer
  • Goalball
  • Sled Hockey
  • Equestrian
  • Judo;
  • Weightlifting
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • Wheelchair rugby;
  • Snowboarding;
  • Taekwondo;
  • Wheelchair tennis;
  • Table tennis;
  • Shooting;
  • Archery;
  • Triathlon;
  • Sitting volleyball.

All about the Paralympics: curiosities

Now that you know all about the history of the Paralympics, the categories of sports, the different disciplines and much more, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about the competition.

Today, the Paralympic Games are considered the third largest sporting event in the world. It’s ahead of only the Olympics, of course, and the World Cup, which is all about soccer.

At the Paralympics, competitors from all over the world take part, representing different nations. With each edition, new technologies are used in the competitions, with different equipment being developed to improve the well-being and comfort of the athletes.

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The Paralympic Games help to include people with disabilities in sports

The Paralympic Games also become the setting for great world records, broken by the best athletes in the world!

The 2024 edition of the Paralympics will take place from August 28 to September 8, right after the Olympics. The event will also take place in Paris, the capital of France.

Did you like finding out more about the Paralympics? Take advantage of the fact that you’ve come this far to check out more sports content and get ready for the arrival of another edition of the Olympic Games!

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