What Is A Paralympian? History, Definition and Meaning

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Summer Paralympics finally took place in 2021. Five thousand athletes representing 163 countries competed. China won the medal count while the US ranked fourth. 

The 2024 Summer Paralympics will take place in Paris, France from August 28 - September 8. 

The Paralympics is made up of athletes competing in 22 different sports, and the competition has taken place for over 60 years.

If you want to learn more about what a Paralympian is and what they're all about, keep reading below. 

What is a Paralympian?

A Paralympian is an athlete who competes in the Paralympic games. They're athletes that have bodily differences and different types of disabilities. 

However, the Paralympian definition doesn't even come close to explaining what defines them. 

A Paralympian is courageous. They have heart and soul to the core. Paralympians overcome obstacles that the average person will never understand. 

It's hard enough to play a sport at an elite level. But when you have a physical disability, it's 10 times harder.

Every star athlete makes sacrifices for the sport they play.

Winter Paralympian

The Winter Paralympics occur between every Summer Paralympics. There are six sports in the Winter Paralympic Games:

  • Para Ice Hockey
  • Snowboarding
  • Biathlon
  • Wheelchair Curling
  • Alpine Skiing 
  • Cross Country Skiing

A total of 736 athletes will compete in 78 medal events. Thirty-nine of them are in the men's competition and 34 in the women's. There will also be four mixed-gender events. 

Summer Paralympian

The 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, had to wait an extra year, but they were a success. They took place from August 24 to September 5, 2021. 

The Summer Paralympic Games are significantly larger than the winter. There are 22 different sports with over 4,500 para-athletes representing 163 different countries.

The sports involved include archery, football, wheelchair basketball, swimming, powerlifting, and wheelchair tennis. There's also cycling, canoeing, swimming, badminton, and wheelchair rugby, among others. 

Blind Paralympian 

If you're a blind Paralympian, you need to connect with a guide. Runners, for instance, have a guide with them on the track running in front of them and communicating directions while the para-athlete runs as fast as they can. 

Guides are awarded medals alongside their partner. In the Winter Paralympics, blind athletes compete in biathlon, cross-country skiing, and alpine skiing.

The Summer Paralympic Games have blind athletes that compete in archery, football, equestrian, and cycling. 

These athletes have to work even harder than other para-athletes. They have an extra obstacle to overcome. 

Paralympic Refugees

Because of COVID, there are more refugees than ever. The 2020 Paralympic refugee team was made up of six athletes, who represented 82 million refugees around the world. Twelve million of them have disabilities. 

The Courage of Paralympians

A Paralympian signifies courage, hard work, sacrifice, and inspiration. Both winter and summer para-athletes have amazing talents. Blind Paralympians have to go the extra mile to pursue their passion for sports. 

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