Today we want to talk about how the Paralympics has helped promote sports with those with a disability. When people think about sports, people tend to picture the able-bodied and mobile people. Over the years, sports have become more inclusive, though, and are now opened up to people with a wide range of disabilities. This has been thanks to many different reasons and the Paralympics is certainly one of the driving factors as an event that always inspires and shows that sport can be performed at a high level by all.
The Paralympics History
The Paralympics dates back to 1948 when it was founded by Sir Ludwig Guttman who devised the competition for British World War 2 veterans that had sustained spinal cord injuries in the war. Over the years, the Paralympics have grown exponentially to become one of the largest international sporting events in the world. In 1960, the games grew to include around 400 athletes from 23 countries, and it has continued to grow since then.
The 2020 Games
The most recent games, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games (held in 2021 due to COVID-19) had an incredible 4,403 athletes from 162 countries. The Games featured 539 medal events across 22 sports, including debut years for both Taekwondo and badminton. Although the events largely took place behind closed doors due to the pandemic, it was anticipated that the games were seen by a staggering 4.25 billion viewing around the world.
It seems that each year the Paralympics becomes increasingly more popular and shows that people with a wide range of disabilities can enjoy and compete in a wide range of sports at a high level. The games have been helped thanks to the involvement of various royals and celebrities, including Prince Harry who has made a documentary about the Paralympics. He commented on the importance of the Paralympics, especially in times like these:
“Rising Phoenix is the story that the world needs right now. We are confronted by the true power of the human spirit and the sheer strength of mind to overcome and achieve what most would deem impossible.”
Getting Started with Sport
The Paralympics are certainly inspirational and encourages many with disabilities to participate in sport, which can bring many benefits to people’s lives. Those that want to start participating in disability sports can usually find events nearby and the internet is a great resource for this. You can then use vehicles that can fit a wheelchair and/or special sports equipment to get to and from the facility.
It is incredible to see the development and growth of the Paralympics over the years. The event is always inspirational and shows that sport is not just for the able-bodied and it has led to a sharp increase in disability sports all over the UK and the entire world, which can bring all kinds of benefits to the lives of those with disabilities.