Paralympic Summer Sports

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Introduction

Sport for athletes with an impairment has existed for more than 100 years, but It was not until after World War II that it was widely introduced. In 1944, at the request of the British Government, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann opened a Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Great Britain to assist the large number of war veterans and civilians who had been injured during the war. Sr. Ludwig Guttman was a huge believer in physical activity and sport to aid in the process of rehabilitation and reintegration back into society following a spinal cord injury. So sport for rehabilitation evolved to lead to recreational sport and then on to competitive sport.

On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games, a milestone in Paralympics history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery. In 1952, Dutch ex-servicemen joined the Movement and the International Stoke Mandeville Games were founded.

These Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. The Rome 1960 Paralympic Games was a tremendous step in sport for athletes with a physical impairment. The founder of the Paralympic Movement, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, and the Director of the Spinal Centre in Rome, Antonia Maglio, started preparations for the Games two years prior. It would be called the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games. Now regarded as the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games, the competition took place six days following the Closing Ceremony of the XVII Olympic Games and was supported by the Italian Olympic Committee and the Italian Institute for Disabled Workers (INAIL). A total of eight different sports debuted at the first-ever Paralympic Games, all of which were considered beneficial and suitable for athletes with spinal cord injuries including Archery, Athletics, Dartchery, Snooker, Swimming, Table Tennis, Wheelchair Fencing and Wheelchair Basketball. Sir Guttmann summed of the Games saying: “The vast majority of competitors and escorts have fully understood the meaning of the Rome Games as a new pattern of reintegration of the paralyzed into society, as well as the world of sport.”

Since then they have taken place every four years. In 1976 the first Winter Games in Paralympics history were held in Sweden, and as with the Summer Games, have taken place every four years, and include a Paralympics Opening Ceremony and Paralympics Closing Ceremony. Since the Summer Games of Seoul, Korea in 1988 and the Winter Games in Albertville, France in 1992 the Games have also taken part in the same cities and venues as the Olympics due to an agreement between the International Paralympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.

The word “Paralympic” derives from the Greek preposition “para” (beside or alongside) and the word “Olympic”. Its meaning is that Paralympics are the parallel Games to the Olympics and illustrates how the two movements exist side-by-side.

Year Location Impairments Included
1960 Rome, Italy Spinal Injury
1964 Tokyo, Japan Spinal Injury
1968 Tel Aviv, Israel Spinal Injury
1972 Heidleburg, Germany Spinal Injury
1976 Toronto, Canada Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Other Similar Impairments
1980 Arnhem, Betherlands Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments
1984 Stoke Mandeville, UK

New York, USA

Spinal injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments
1988 Seoul, Korea Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments
1992 Barcelona, Spain Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments
1996 Atlanta, USA Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments, Intellectual Impairment
2000 Sydney, Australia Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments, Intellectual Impairment
2004 Athens, Greece Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments
2008 Beijing, China Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments
2012 London, UK Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments, Intellectual Impairment
2016 Rio, Brazil Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments, Intellectual Impairment
2020 Tokyo, Japan Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments, Intellectual Impairment
2024 Paris, France Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments, Intellectual Impairment
2028 Los Angeles, USA Spinal Injury, Amputee, Visual Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Other Similar Impairments, Intellectual Impairment

Archery

Archery has featured at every Paralympic Games sincethe first in Rome 1960. The sport has three different classifications and iscomprised of individual and team events in both standing and wheelchaircompetitions. Athletes shoot from a distance at a target marked with 10 scoring zones. The object of the sport is to shoot arrows as close to the centre of a target as possible. Targets are 122cm in diameter, with the gold ring at the centre (worth a maximum 10 points) measuring just 12.2cm.Athletes shoot at the target from a distance of 70 metres. Athletes compete with both recurve bows - distinctive as the limbs curve outwards at the top – and compound bows, which feature mechanical pulleys, telescopic sights and release aids to assist in accuracy. Men and women compete separately, both as individuals and in teams of three, and all matches are conducted as straight knockouts. Men’s and women’s individual (ST), (W1) and (W2).There are competitions for both recurve and compound bows, as well as a men’sand women’s team competition. Athletes with a physical impairment (such as spinal ornerve injury, limb loss or limb deficiency, cerebral palsy or other similar impairment). In archery, athletes are grouped into three classesfor competition: Standing (ST), Wheelchair 1 (W1) and Wheelchair 2 (W2). •   ST Athletes compete from a standing position •   W1 Athletes compete from a seated position and have animpairment that affects their arms, legs and trunk •   W2 Athletes compete from a seated position and have animpairment that affects their legs and trunk

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Athletics

Athletics has been part of the Paralympic Games since 1960 and events are open to male and female athletes in all impairment groups eligible for Paralympic sport. Athletes compete according to their functional classifications in each event and these events are continually being redefined to include as many athletes as possible. •   Track; 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m,4X100m, 4X400m •   Field; Shot Put, Discus, Javelin, Club Throw, LongJump, High Jump •   Road; Marathon •   Combined; Pentathlon

Badminton

Boccia

Making its debut as a Paralympic sportin 1984, Boccia tests each competitor’s degree of muscle control and accuracy.Competing in wheelchairs, athletes with severe impairments throw, kick or use aramp device to propel leather balls as close as possible to a white ball which serves as the jack (target). Players compete in team and individual events on an equal level. •   Singles •   Pairs •   Teams

Athletes with a physical impairment that affect their entire body (cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury or other severe physical impairments such as muscular dystrophy). Athletes are classified into one of four classes depending on their functional ability. The Paralympic classes in boccia are BC1-BC4.

Canoe

Cycling

Cycling is a relatively new sport for Paralympians, with the visually impaired athletes the first group to take part. Cerebral palsy and athletes with limb loss or limb deficiency followed, joining the competition in 1984. Cycling is divided into track and road events. Cyclists with limb loss or deficiency, spinal cord or nerve damage; or cerebral palsy/ acquired braininjury or similar conditions compete in track and road events usingbicycles modified for their needs. Riders may use a standard bike, handcycle ortrike depending on their level of impairment. •   Track Events; Time Trial, Individual Pursuit, TeamSprint, Tandem Sprint •   Road Events; Road Race, Time Trial

Athletes with limb loss or deficiency, spinal cord or nerve damage; or cerebral palsy and acquired brain injury or similar conditions compete in track and road events using bicycles modified for their needs. Athletes are classified into classes depending on their functional ability. C1-C5 (2wheeled bicycle),  T1-T2 (tricycle),  H1- H4 (handcycle)

Dance

Equestrian

Football

Goalball

Judo

Powerlifting

Rowing

Shooting

Swimming

Table Tennis

Para-table tennis was included in the first ParalympicGames in 1960. Athletes from  compete in table tennis in standing and sitting (wheelchair) classes. Men and women compete individually and in doubles, as well as in team events. A match comprises five sets of 11 points each. The winner is the player or pair winning three of the five sets. The rules of the International Table Tennis Federation(ITTF) also apply to the Paralympic table tennis competitions with slight modifications regarding the serve rules for athletes competing in a wheelchair. •   Individual event •   Team event Athletes with a physical impairment. Athletes are classified into classes depending on their functional ability and whether they compete sitting or standing. Athletes with a physical impairment: TT 1-5 (seated players),  Athletes with a physical impairment: TT 6-10 (ambulant players).

Taekwando

Triathlon

Para-triathlon was added to the Paralympic Program in 2010 by the International Paralympic Committee. The sport will make its firstappearance at the Paralympic Games at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.Para-triathlon is a multidisciplinary endurance sport that challenges athletes to a continuous race over three disciplines: 750m of swimming,followed by 20km of cycling and 5km of running. The sport is designed to embrace as many athletes as possible, while testing a variety of key skills. Competition categories are based on types of impairment. Depending on the category, an athletes may use a handcycle, tandem bicycle or bicycle on the bike course, while wheelchairs are permitted on the run portion. Paratriathlon events are for athletes with physical impairments. Sprint Distance Triathlon - 750m swim, 20km bike, 5kmrun. Athletes with a physical impairment. Athletes are classified into classes depending ontheir functional ability. There are 5 classes for Para-triathlon.

Volleyball

Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair basketball was one of the foundation sportson the Paralympic program in Rome in 1960. Today, it continues to be one of themost popular sports at the Paralympic Games.

To be eligible, athletes musthave have an objective and measurable permanent physical impairment in theirlower limbs which prevents them from running, jumping and pivoting as anable-bodied player. Players are assigned a point value from 1.0 to 4.5 –according to their level of physical function. A team must not exceed 14.0 points for the five players on court. This ensures that each player has an integral role to play in the team structure, regardless of the degree of their impairment. Observed trunk movements and stability during actual basketball participation, not medical diagnosis form the basis of player classification.  •   Mens •   Womens

Athletes with a physical impairment that impacts upontheir lower limbs, such as spinal cord or nerve damage, limb loss or limbdeficiency (above or below knee), cerebral palsy or other similar impairment. Athletes are classified into one of 8 classes depending on their functional ability. Classes range from 1.0 – 4.5 points.

Wheelchair Fencing

Wheelchair fencing was developed by Sir Ludwig Guttmann at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital and was introduced to the world at the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games. Although sword fighting dates back thousands of years,modern day fencing and wheelchair fencing is a fast-moving battle of tactics and techniques. Their wheelchairs are fastened to the floor during competition. •      Men's and Women's Individual Epée and Foil •      Men's Sabre •      Men's Foil Team •      Women's Epée Team

Men and women with spinal cord injuries, nerve injuries, limb loss or limb deficiency, cerebral palsy or other similar impairments are eligible to compete in foil epee (men and women) and saber (men) events. Wheelchair fencing is divided into two classes: Category A and category B. Category A - athletes have good trunk control and their fencing arm is not affected by their impairment Category B - athletes have an impairment that affects either their trunk or their fencing arm

Wheelchair Rugby

Wheelchair rugby is an intense, physical team sport for male and female athletes with an impairment in both upper and lower limbs. The sport can be very physical as athletes attempt to carry the ball over the opponent's goal line. The four players on the court cannot exceed a combined total of 8 points. A volleyball is used and it can be carried, dribbled, or passed in any way except by kicking. The ball must be bounced at least once every 10 seconds and rugby is played in eight-minute quarters. The players are classified according to their level of functional ability and are assigned a point value from 0.5 to 3.5 points – the higher the points, the more functional ability the athletes have. •   Mixed – Males & Females 

Athletes with a physical impairment  that affects all four limbs, such as spinal cord injury (quadriplegia), limb loss in both arms and legs, or an equivalent impairment. Players are classified into one of seven classes ranging from 0.5 to 3.5 points.

Wheelchair Tennis

Wheelchair Tennis first appeared at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. In Wheelchair Tennis the ball is allowed tobounce twice - the first bounce must be within the bounds of the court. For athletes to compete, they must have a permanent substantial or total loss of function in one or both legs. For the quad division the eligibility criteria requires a player to have a impairment in three or more limbs. The events are singles (between two players) and doubles (between two pairs). The winner of a match is determined by the first to win two sets. •   Singles •   Doubles

Athletes with a physical impairment, who have significant or total loss of function in one or both legs due to conditions such as spinal or nerve injury, limb loss or limb deficiency, cerebral palsy or other lower limb impairment.

Resources

References

  1. Australian Paralympic Committee. Archery. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM3cJos6kuk[last accessed 30/06/19]
  2. Australian Paralympic Committee. Para-athletics. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxCm4EKUUR8[last accessed 30/06/19]
  3. London 2012. London 2012 - Athletics. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FMfnLvGkbc&feature=youtu.be[last accessed 30/06/19]
  4. Australian Paralympic Committee. Boccia. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEoCFFbmtkY[last accessed 30/06/19]
  5. London 2012. London 2012 - Boccia. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5CmEab8tqU[last accessed 30/06/19]
  6. Australian Paralympic Committee. Cycling. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TPPfiTS9nQ[last accessed 30/06/19]
  7. London 2012. London 2012 - Cycling. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lcnVKaKK-E[last accessed 30/06/19]
  8. Australian Paralympic Committee. Table Tennis. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CC54k73QvM[last accessed 30/06/19]
  9. London 2012. London 2012 - T`ble Tennis. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdu0OH3Kmvc[last accessed 30/06/19]
  10. World Triathlon. 2010 Paratriathlon for Paralympics. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wTBpA63J3M[last accessed 30/06/19]
  11. Australian Paralympic Committee. Wheelchair Basketball. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdwGwEoCX-Q[last accessed 30/06/19]
  12. London 2012. London 2012 - Wheelchair basketball. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ykc6usKOoKo[last accessed 30/06/19]
  13. London 2012. London 2012 - Wheelchair Fencing. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3kGCAfulcI[last accessed 30/06/19]
  14. Australian Paralympic Committee. Wheelchair Rugby. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY_B69DbOG0[last accessed 30/06/19]
  15. London 2012. London 2012 - Wheelchair Rugby. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1_aUAGvWK4[last accessed 30/06/19]
  16. Australian Paralympic Committee. Wheelchair Rugby. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nui4B6Zpb8k[last accessed 30/06/19]
  17. London 2012. London 2012 - Wheelchair Rugby. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR-KyhY99M4[last accessed 30/06/19]