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The Paralympic Games

An Overview Of the Paralympic Games

Click To See Schedule Of Live Video Broadcast of 2010 Paralympics

The 10th Winter Paralympic games will be held in Vancouver and Whister Canada from 12-21 March 2010. While the Paralympics are the major sporting event for the disability community, many people will be completely unaware that they are going on.  Your participation and awareness of the games will probably depend upon where you live. Some countries (eg Canada) will offer live TV broadcast of Paralympic events and some (eg USA and UK), probably will not. Fortunately, you can still watch live broadcasts. This article will give an overview of the Paralympics and how you can participate in this exciting event.

What Is Ice Sledge Hockey? Click the Video To Find Out

The Difference between Paralympics and Special Olympics

Paralympics are frequently confused with Special Olympics, however the distinction is simple. Paralympic athletes generally have a physical disability, though in the past athletes with intellectual disabilities also participated. Para means "Next To" in Greek, as in the term parallel. The Paralympics are indeed parallel to the regular Olympics, with highly skilled and selected physically disabled athletes from around the world undergoing professional training and then competing against each other just like in the Olympics. Paralympic athletes usually are trained with similar facilities and often in similar camps as Olympic athletes. Since 1960 Paralympics have taken place just days after and since 1988 in the same venues as the Olympics. The Parlympics have been international since the first official Paralympic games in 1960 in Rome, Italy.

In contrast, Special Olympic athletes generally have intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics are held at a different time and place as the regular Olympics. The first Special Olympics held outside of the USA was in 2003 in Dublin, Ireland.

Paralympics: Summer vs Winter

As Paralympics are held in parallel to the Olympics there are summer games and winter games. How do they compare? Just like with the Olympics, the summer Paralympic Games are a much larger in every respect with more events, more teams and more athletes.

What Is Adaptive Skiing? Click the Video To Find Out

Events - Currently the Summer Paralympics have 20 events:
* Archery
* Athletics
* Boccia
* Cycling
* Equestrian
* Football
* 5-a-side
* Football
* 7-a-side
* Goalball
* Judo
* Powerlifting
* Rowing
* Sailing
* Shooting
* Swimming
* Table tennis
* Volleyball
* Wheelchair basketball
* Wheelchair Fencing
* Wheelchair rugby
* Wheelchair tennis

Like the winter Olympics, all of the winter Paralympic events take place on either snow or ice. But winter Paralympic games have only 5 events:
* Alpine Skiing
* Biathelon
* Cross Country Skiing
* Wheelchair Curling
* Sledge Hockey

Teams - Many more countries and athletes compete in Summer than in Winter Paralympic games and a higher percentage of countries send teams to Summer Games compared to Winter Games. 146 countries participated in the 2008 Summer Paralympics which means that of the 205 countries which sent athletes to the Summer Olympics more than 2/3 also sent disabled athletes to the 2008 Summer Paralympics. In contrast of the 82 countries which will send delegates to the winter Olympics, only 43 or slightly over half, will send delegates to the winter Paralympics.

Athletes- In the 2010 Winter Paralympics approximately 650 athletes are expected to participate compared to the nearly 4,000 which participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics in China.

While the Summer Paralympic Games get participants from all over the world, Winter Paralympics mostly involve western, developed nations. China which dominates the summer Paralympics and will send its largest ever team of 94 athletes to the 2010 Winter Olympics may not participate in the winter Paralympics or if they do, it is likely to be just a few as only 8 Chinese athletes participated in the 2006 Paralympics. South American countries rarely attend the Winter Paralympics and the only African participant is usually South Africa. Muslim nations are generally absent, with the main exception usually being Kazakhstan. The main Asian participants in the Winter Paralympics are Japan and South Korea. The map below from Wikipedia, shows the countries which participated in the 2006 Paralympics and the number of athletes sent (Green: 1-4 athletes, Blue: 5-9 athletes, Orange: 10-19 athletes, Red: 20+ athletes).



Who Are The Major Players Of The Paralympics? 

In the recent summer Olympics, the countries which have won the most gold are the US, Russia and China. In the Winter Olympics it is Germany, USA, Norway, Russia. The Paralympics are a little different. The Chinese and the British are the powerhouses of the Summer Paralympics and in the Winter it is generally the Russians and Germans who are the strongest contenders. The only country which has consistently been amongst the top medal winners in both recent summer and winter Paralympic Games is Ukraine. This is due to a major strategy by Ukraine to support Paralympic Athletes. In a 2009 test event held in Canada, Russia won most of the events in biathlon and cross-country skiing. Therefore, look out for the Russians, Germans and Ukrainians to excel in the 2010 Paralympics as well.

Summer Paralympics

Gold Medals Won

 Country  2008  2004  2000
 China  89  63  34
 Great Britain  42  35  41
 USA  36  27  36
 Ukraine  24  24  3


 23  26  63
 Canada  19  28  38

Winter Paralympics

Gold Medals Won

 Country 2006   2002  1998
 Russia  13  7  12
 Germany  8  17  14
 Ukraine  7  0  3
 France  7  2  5
 USA  7  10  13
 Canada  5  6  1
 Norway  1  10  18
 Austria  1  9  7

Who wins the most medals?

Generally the top Paralympic medalists are swimmers competing in the summer Paralympic games. One of the reasons is that there are alot of swimming events and therefore many swimming medals given out. For example, Trischa Zorn a blind swimmer from the USA has won 51 medals, more than any other Paralympian. Sit-skier Ragnhild Myklebust is the record holder in the Winter Olympics. Myklebust retired from Paralympics in 2002 at 58-years-old after winning a record 22 Paralympic gold medals and 27 total medals.

A special note, in 2010 Brian McKeever from Canada is the first the first athlete to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. While other athletes have performed at both summer Olympics and Paralympics McKeever, who is legally blind, will compete in the cross-country skiing events in both Olympics and Paralympics

What Is Wheelchair Curling? Click the Video To Find Out


How Can You See The Paralympics?

If you can not attend the Paralympics, the next best thing is to watch it on TV. But the local TV coverage will be very different depending on where you live. For example in the USA as of mid-February, there has been no announcement if any broadcaster will offer live coverage the Paralympics. The BBC will broadcast coverage in the UK and CTV will show the action in Canada. Some broad casters will also have live coverage via the Internet, but usually broadcasters will not show coverage outside of their country even on the Internet.

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Free, Live Paralympic Coverage Via Internet

Regardless of where you live, you can watch LIVE coverage of 2010 Paralympics via internet on Paralympic Sport TV. Paralympic Sport TV the Internet TV channel of the International Paralympic Committee will offer free live broadcasts worldwide via Internet for about five hours every day. Paralympic Sport will have non-stop coverage of the games everyday from 9:00 to 22:30. When there is no live coverage, Parlympic Sport TV will replay recorded action of events from the day.

Schedule of Live Coverage 2010 Paralympics
On Paralympic Sport TV
( All Times Are Pacific Standard Times )

 Friday, 12 March  
 18:00-20:00 Opening Ceremony 
 Saturday, 13 March  
 10:00-11:30  Biathlon Pursuit Qualification Men/Women
 11:30- 14:00  Alpine Skiing Downhill Men/Women
 18:00- 21:00  Wheelchair Curling
 Sunday, 14 March  
 10:00-14:00  Cross Country Skiing, Long Distance Sitting Men/Women
 18:00-21:00  Wheelchair Curling
 Monday, 15 March  
 10:00- 14:00  Cross Country Skiing, Long Distance Standing Men/Women
 18:00- 21:00  Wheelchair Curling
 Tuesday, 16 March  
 9:30- 11:30  Alpine Skiing, Super Combined Men/Women First Run
 13:00- 15:00  Alpine Skiing, Super Combined Men/Women Second Run
 17:00-18:30  Ice Sledge Hockey USA-Japan
 Wednesday, 17 March  
 10:00-14:00  Biathelon Long Distance Men/Women
 19:00-21:30  Ice Sledge Hockey Play Off
 Thursday, 18 March  
 10:00- 14:00  Biathelon Long Distance Men/Women
 19:00-21:30  Ice Sledge Hockey Semi-Final
 Friday, 19 March  
 9:00-12:00  Wheelchair Curling Tie-Breaker
 13:00-15:00  Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Sitting and Visually Impared
 15:30-17:30  Ice Sledge Hockey
 19:00-21:00  Ice Sledge Hockey Bronze Medal Game
 21:00-22:00  Wheelchair Curling Tie Breaker
 Saturday, 20 March  
 10:00-11:00  Cross Country Skiing Relay Women
 11:00-12:00  Alpine Skiing, Slalom, Standing M/W
 12:00- 14:00  Ice Sledge Hockey Gold Medal Game
 15:30-18:00  Wheelchair Curling Gold Medal Game
 Sunday, 21 March  
 10:00-11:00  Cross Country Skiing Men/Women
 11:00-12:00  Alpine Skiing Slalom Sitting and Visually Impaired
 12:00-14:00  Cross Country Skiing Sprint Men/Women
 19:30-21:30  Closing Ceremony

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