As standard, about three weeks following the regular Olympic Games, the Paralympics fall between March 12th and 21st in Vancouver this year. The overall schedule of these games can be found here. Contact your local provider for viewing information or use Paralympic.TV for viewing on your computer!
Athletes with disabilities began competing in the Olympic Games as early as 1952, and were more officially organized by 1960 in Rome. The first official Paralympic Games, held during a separate date period, was at the 1976 Winter Games in Sweden. The Games have grown significantly in those 30 years, starting with just 400 athletes from 23 countries to nearly 4,000 athletes from 146 countries at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Winter Paralympic sports include Alpine and Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, Curling, and Sledge Hockey. Skiing classifications include sit- and standing-skiers as well as visually impaired skiers in three vision categories. Male and female athletes compete in the same competitions as the able-bodied Olympians do: Downhill, Super G, Giant Slolem, and Super Combined. Although the Vancouver Games are the first to see the Skier Cross event adopted from the XGames, the adaptive version MonoCross event has not yet been added yet, but we hope to see it in Sochi! Click here for a full schedule of the upcoming games.
In 2006, the Russian Paralympic Team went away from Torino's games with 33 Olympic medals, and the US Team was 6th behind Ukraine, Germany, France, Austria and Canada, in that order. Don't forget to support these athletes who work hard to train, prepare, and overcome obstacles of pain, disability, equipment and other challenges associated with travel and attending this global event.
As always, Vancouver has done a magnificent job at making the area hospitably accessible, including focus on transportation and shuttles, spectator viewing areas, and assistive hearing devices to name a few.
Learn more about the US TEAM here!