The Paralympic Games are an athletic competition for people with disabilities, including amputees, people with impaired vision, paraplegics and people with cerebral palsy. The Paralympic Movement has its roots in a sporting competition organized in 1948 by Sir Ludwig Guttman. He was concerned about the many British soldiers returning home from the war in wheelchairs as a result of spinal cord and other injuries. Guttman believed that a sporting event could motivate the soldiers to get moving again. It was a great success, and four years later athletes from the Netherlands joined in. A movement was born.
The first Olympic-style summer games for athletes with a disability took place in 1960 after the Olympic Summer Games in Rome, Italy. In 1976, the first Paralympic Winter Games were convened in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.
The Paralympic Games showcase the athletic achievements of elite athletes from six different disability groups. During the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, approximately 600 athletes will compete in five sports.
These sports include:
- Alpine skiing
- Cross-country skiing
- Wheelchair curling
- Ice Sledge Hockey
The 2010 Winter Paralympics, officially known as the X Paralympic Winter Games, will be celebrated in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia between March 12 to March 21, 2010. 2010 will be the second time Canada has hosted the Paralympic Games, following the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Toronto.
Hockey fans will be pleased to know that the mens sledge hockey team are defending paralympic champions and don’t plan on giving up their title.