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Summer Paralympic Games

The Summer Paralympics, sometimes referred to as the Games of the Paralympian, are held in the same host city as the Olympics, with two weeks between the close of the Olympics and the opening ceremony of the Paralympics.

The first official Paralympic Games was held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 with 400 athletes from 23 countries. By 1976, athletes with different disabilities were included expanding the 1976 Summer Games to 1,600 athletes from 40 countries.

Categories and Classification

Each athlete's disability is placed into one of ten disability categories: 

  • impaired muscle power
  • impaired passive range of movement
  • limb deficiency
  • leg length difference
  • short stature
  • Hypertonia
  • Ataxia
  • Athetosis
  • vision impairment
  • intellectual impairment

"Within the ten disability categories, the athletes still need to be divided according to their level of impairment. The classification systems differ from sport to sport and are intended to even the playing field so as to allow as many athletes to participate as possible. Classifications vary in accordance with the different skills required to perform the sport." ~ Wikipedia, Summer Paralympic Game

How Many Sporting Events Does the Paralympic Have?

There are a total of 28 Paralympic sports, 22 for summer and six for winter.

Summer games sports include Archery, Wheelchair Rugby, Powerlifting, Rowing, Taekwondo, Triathlon, and Swimming, to name a few. The winter games include sports such as Alpine skiing, Cross-country skiing, and Snowboarding. For a full list, visit "Paralympics Sports" on the International Paralympic Committee website.

Refugee Paralympic Team

The International Paralympic Committee confirmed six athletes, one woman, and five men, that will represent the Refugee Paralympic Team (RPT) The RPT was created "to allow athletes to keep competing even if they have been forced to leave their home countries." ~  How a Team of Refugee Athletes Made It to the Olympics.

"The team represents the more than 82 million people around the world who have been forced to flee war, persecution, and human rights abuses, 12 million of whom live with a disability. The Chef de Mission for the team is Ileana Rodriguez, a refugee from Cuba who competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games in swimming for the USA." ~ The International Paralympic Committee

Where to Watch

Postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Summer Paralympics will be held in Toyoko, Japan August 24 - September 5, 2021. Much of the marketing and public relations for the games has kept the original title of "2020 Summer Paralympics."

NBC has reserved the right to broadcast the games from the beginning to the end of each day. The Paralympic Committee has also put together this list of options for viewing the games . You may want to check out the schedule of events so you don’t miss your favorite sport!

For more information and for athlete profiles and "ones to watch," visit the Paralympics Toyoko 2020 website .

Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner