Many people dream of one day competing in the Olympics. And, for the vast majority of them, it’s just that: a dream. This was particularly true for those with various disabilities. But, things changed in 1960. That was the year that the first Paralympics, often referred to as the Paralympic Games, took place. Now, the Paralympics is a popular event on nearly the same level as the Olympics. It welcomes people with a range of disabilities to compete in various sports, achieving empowerment and a sense of purpose along the way.
Who Can Compete?
Some of the world’s finest Paralympians compete in this incredible event. They have to be skilled at the sport of their choice, and they also have to have a qualifying impairment. These include:
- Impaired muscle power or range of movement
- Intellectual impairments
- A limb deficiency or a difference in leg lengths
- Short stature
- Involuntary movements
- Visual impairments
Different events have different requirements. For example, in some sporting events, any eligible impairment will qualify a person to compete. In others, only certain impairments qualify. However, there is an event for almost everyone, which is part of what makes the Paralympics so special.
What are the Areas of Competition?
Paralympic sports are wide and varied, contributing to the event’s inclusive nature. There are both summer and winter sports which include, among others:
- Wheelchair basketball, tennis, rugby, and fencing
Why is it Important?
There are many Paralympic events, but they all have one thing in common: they are incredibly meaningful and powerful to the people who compete in them.
For one thing, the Paralympics helps competitors on a personal level. Competing in events gives people a chance to find joy and purpose in life. It can build self-esteem, independence, and positivity. Furthermore, it can greatly increase fitness and health.
The Paralympics matter to the world at large as well. They show that people with disabilities have value and can do amazing things, that they are not to be “written off” or regarded as unimportant. They also spread awareness and educate others on various disabilities. Furthermore, they encourage all people to live a life without limits.
Would you like to learn more about the Paralympics and other opportunities for those with disabilities? Whether you have a disability yourself or are interested in empowering those with disabilities to live fuller, better lives, there are many excellent resources, as well as many ways to make a difference. For example, at Van Products, we are a leading supplier of mobility solutions for people with a range of disabilities. Thanks to the work of organizations like ours, the meaning, message, and power of the Paralympics can extend beyond athletes and to all people.