| Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2016

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Athletes with Disabilities

Disabled athletes can be victims of prejudice and stereotyping. In many countries, there are few standards nor requirements for assisted access. For example, wheelchair ramps, Braille signs, and other aides may be non-existent in certain parts of the host country, especially in rural areas. In addition to a lack of services, there may also be limited services to those mentally challenged. If you want to make special arrangements, inquire in advance so staff can facilitate your needs.

Taken from – Study Abroad Student Handbooks, Special Issues

The Paralympic Games

The IOC created a special part of the Olympics knows as the Paralympic Games. The term “Paralympic” derives from the Greek preposition “para” (besides or alongside) and the word “Olympic.” Paralympics are the parallel games to the Olympics and illustrates the existence of both movements.

In July 29, 1948, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann organized the first competition for wheelchaired athletes, known as The Stoke Mandeville Games. There were 16 injured servicemen and women that participated in the archery competition. In 1952, former Dutch servicemen joined the movement, and the International Stoke Mandeville Games would later be known as the Paralympic Games.

In 1960, the first official Paralympic Games was in Rome, Italy and featured 400 athletes from 23 nations. Since then, the Paralympic Games are held every four years like the Olympics, but the inaugural Paralympic Winter Games took place in 1976. Beginning with the 1988 Summer and 1992 Winter Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games have taken part in the same cities and venues due to an agreement between IPC and IOC. On September 22, 1989, the International Paralympic Committee was founded as an international non-profit organization in Germany, acting as the governing body of the Paralympic Movement.

Taken from – History of the Paralympics

The Special Olympics

The Special Olympics offers an opportunity for athletes with mental disabilities. In the early 1960s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver witnessed how children with special needs did not have a place to play. Shriver took action and developed her vision for special needs children. She held summer day camps for young people with intellectual disabilities in her backyard. The goal was to have children use their capabilities in sports and other activities, rather than dwell on their limitations. Shriver’s vision eventually grew and became known as The Special Olympics.

In July 1926, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games held in Chicago, Illinois had over 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities from the US and Canada. By 2011, the Special Olympics World Summer Games has nearly 7,000 athletes from 170 countries.

"The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. " – – Mission

Adapted from – History of the Special Olympics


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