As the Olympics came to an end about a week ago, the Paralympics will soon start. The Paralympics are just like the Olympics but are for people with disabilities. Most of the events are the same but some are altered due to their disabilities.
On July 29th of 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. These games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. 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. Sounds just like the Olympics right?
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. Some events are wheelchair rugby, boccia, wheelchair tennis, powerlifting, wheelchair fencing, goalball, and wheelchair basketball.
Paralympics sound pretty cool right? The Paralympics were kind of like to let people with disabilities dream or let them do what they want to do. Jody Cundy, a cycler, has already been and competed in the Paralympics and wrote this ”It is just a bike race, but it is probably the most important bike race I have ever raced in. No one’s died, it just feels like they have.” I normally don’t watch the Paralympics but I think I will this year.