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Disabled Sports 

Jennifer Latham Robinson



Disabled sports are sports played by persons with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities. As many of these based on existing sports modified to meet the needs of persons with a disability, they are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. However, not all disabled sports are adapted; several sports that have been specifically created for persons with a disability have no equivalent in able-bodied sports.

 

Organization and History

 

Organized sport for athletes with a disability is generally divided into three broad disability groups: the deaf, persons with physical disabilities, and persons with intellectual disabilities. Each group has a distinct history, organization, competition program, and approach to sport.

 

Formal international competition in deaf sport began with the 1924 Paris Silent Games, organized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds, CISS (The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf). These games evolved into the modern Deaflympics, governed by the CISS. The CISS maintains separate games for deaf athletes based on their numbers, their special communication needs on the sports field, and the social interaction that is a vital part of sports.

 

Organized sport for persons with physical disabilities developed out of rehabilitation programs. Following the Second World War, in response to the needs of large numbers injured ex-service members and civilians, sport was introduced as a key part of rehabilitation. Sport for rehabilitation grew into recreational sport and then into competitive sport. The pioneer of this approach was Sir Ludwig Guttmann of the StokeMandevilleHospital in England. In 1948, while the Olympic Games were being held in London, he organized a sports competition for wheelchair athletes at Stoke Mandeville. This was the origin of the Stoke Mandeville Games, which evolved into the modern Paralympic Games. Currently, Paralympic sport is governed by the International Paralympic Committee, in conjunction with a wide range of other international sport organizations.

 

Sport for persons with intellectual disabilities began to be organized in the 1960s through the Special Olympics movement. This grew out of a series of summer camps organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, beginning in 1962. In 1968 the first international Special Olympics were held, in Chicago. Today, Special Olympics provides training and competition in a variety of sports for persons with intellectual disabilities.

 

In 1986, the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS-FID) was formed to support elite competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This was established in contrast to the more participative, "sport for all" approach of Special Olympics. For a time, athletes with intellectual disabilities were included in the Paralympic Games. After a cheating scandal at the 2000 Summer Paralympics, where a number of athletes participating in intellectual disability events were revealed to not be disabled, INAS-FID athletes were banned from Paralympic competition. Work is on-going to reintegrate these athletes into the Paralympic movement.

 

In 2006, the Extremity Games was formed for people with limb loss or limb difference to compete in extreme sports. The College Park Industries, a manufacturer of prosthetic feet, organized this event to give amputee athletes a venue to compete in this increasingly popular sports genere also referred to as action sports. This annual event held in the summer in Orlando, FL includes competitions in skateboarding, wakeboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, moto-x and kayaking.

 

Sports

 

There are a wide range of sports that have been adapted to be played by people with varying types of disability, as well as several that are unique to disabled sports. Within each movement, different sports are practiced at different levels; for example, not all sports in the Paralympic movement are part of the Paralympic Games. In addition, many sports are practiced by persons with a disability outside the formal sports movements.

 

Deaf sports

 

§          Alpine skiing

§          Athletics

§          Badminton

§          Basketball

§          Beach volleyball

§          Bowling

§          Cross-country skiing

§          Curling

§          Cycling

§          Football

§          Handball

§          Ice hockey

§          Judo

§          Karate

§          Orienteering

§          Shooting

§          Snowboard

§          Swimming

§          Table tennis

§          Tae kwon do

§          Tennis

§          Volleyball

§          Water polo

§          Wrestling

 

Paralympic sports

 

§          Alpine skiing

§          Archery

§          Athletics

§          Basketball ID

§          Boccia

§          Bowls

§          Cue sports

§          Cycling

§          Equestrian

§          Football 5-a-Side

§          Football 7-a-Side

§          Goalball

§          Ice sledge hockey

§          Ice sledge racing

§          Judo

§          Nine-pin bowling

§          Nordic Skiing

§          Powerlifting

§          Sailing

§          Shooting

§          Showdown

§          Swimming

§          Table tennis

§          Ten-pin bowling

§          Tennis

§          Torball

§          Volleyball

§          Wheelchair basketball

§          Wheelchair curling

§          Wheelchair dance sport

§          Wheelchair fencing

§          Wheelchair rugby

§          Wheelchair tennis

 

Special Olympics

 

§          Alpine skiing

§          Aquatics

§          Athletics

§          Badminton

§          Basketball

§          Bocce

§          Bowling

§          Cross-country skiing

§          Cycling

§          Equestrian

§          Figure skating

§          Floor hockey

§          Football

§          Golf

§          Gymnastics

§          Powerlifting

§          Roller skating

§          Sailing

§          Snowboarding

§          Snowshoeing

§          Softball

§          Short track speed skating

§          Table tennis

§          Team handball

§          Tennis

§          Volleyball

 

Extremity Games

 

§          Skateboarding

§          Wakeboarding

§          Rock Climbing

§          Surfing

§          Moto Cross

§          Kayaking

§          Mountain Biking

§          BMX Biking

§          Other Sports

§          Blind cricket

§          Blind golf

§          Electric wheelchair football

§          Electric wheelchair hockey

§          Golf

§          Handcycling

§          Wheelchair baseball

§          Wheelchair hockey

§          Wheelchair rugby league

§          Wheelchair skateboarding

 

Inclusion

 

Beginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s, work began within several countries and organizations to include athletes with disabilities in the able-bodied sport system. This included adding events for athletes with disabilities to major games such as the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games, and integration of these athletes into able-bodied sports organizations.  Since 1984, the Olympics have included exhibition events for Paralympic athletes. However, integration of full medal events has not taken place, and the status of athletes with a disability in the Olympic movement remains controversial. Within the Commonwealth Games, athletes with a disability were first included in exhibition events in 1994 , and at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games they were included as full members of their national teams, making them the first fully inclusive international multi-sport games. This policy has continued with the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, where Canadian Chantal Petitclerc became the first athlete with a disability to carry her country's flag in the Opening Ceremonies of an integrated games.




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