Not to be confused with the annual Special Olympics, another amazing set of events, the Paralympic Games are an event held every four years in coordination with the Olympics.
The focus of the Paralympics isn’t the disabilities or challenges of the athletes, but rather the training, hard work, and skill necessary to compete in this prestigious event.
Since 1960, the Paralympics have run in-sync with the Olympics, held in the same city, immediately following both the Summer and Winter games.
The Paralympics began as a small gathering of injured British WWII veterans in 1948 but grew over time to become one of the largest international sporting events in the world. The name Paralympics is newer yet and did not come into use until the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, which also marked the first time the same Olympic facilities were used.
The Summer Paralympics features twenty different sports, including: wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, swimming, judo, and wheelchair volleyball, to name a few. The games offer the opportunity for visually impaired, intellectually disabled, amputees or otherwise wheelchair-bound people, and victims of non-progressive brain damage or physical disabilities to participate in sporting events.
The focus of the Paralympic Games and all the involved events; however, is not the disabilities, but instead, the achievements of the athletes competing. Paralympic athletes follow intense training regiments, comparable to their Olympic counterparts, in order to prepare for this prestigious event. The most recent games, held last winter in Vancouver, were a phenomenal showcase of 506 athletes from 44 participating countries, with Germany claiming the most gold medals and Russia finishing with the most overall medals.
Regardless of the winner; however, the Paralympics is always a landmark event for the disabled community because it allows those who require wheelchair accessibility and handicapped accessibility to show the extent of their capabilities. The endeavors of these Paralympians will continue to inspire the handicapped community and encourage those with physical disability to shoot for lofty goals and believe in their ability to overcome disability.
As a part of that handicapped community, we would love to get in touch with anyone in need of a wheelchair accessible van or other transportation, whether Paralympian or otherwise, so that we can help you attain those goals in whatever way possible. Drop us a note and we’ll answer any questions you have about wheelchair vans and other accessibility options.