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What Are the Paralympics?

Published by Yuki Cheung on

As we get closer to the beginning of the Paralympic Winter Games, Beijing will welcome more than 700 of the world’s best Paralympic athletes. Athletes will compete in 78 medal events across six different sports at the 2022 Winter Paralympics: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, sled hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling.

The Paralympics Games is a major international sports competition for athletes with disabilities. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, impaired muscle power, limb deficiency, and leg length difference. Similar to the Olympic Games, the Paralympics are spilt into Winter and Summer Games, which include a variety of sports like wheelchair basketball, para ice hockey, football 5-a-side, and Taekwondo.

Sports for athletes with disabilities have existed for more than 100 years. Dr. Ludwig Guttmann was a German-born English neurosurgeon who founded the Paralympic Games. On July 29th, 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organized the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery. These games later became the Paralympics Games which first took place in Rome.

If you are interested in watching athletes with physical disabilities compete in snow and ice sports, this year’s Winter Paralympics Games begin on Friday, March 4th, 2022, and will go through Sunday, March 13th, 2022. In the United States, the games are available on the NBC family of television networks and on their streaming platform, Peacock.