Beijing Winter Paralympics

Beijing Paralympics 2022

Over the next two weeks we are going to be celebrating the 2022 Winter Paralympics in China. At this time I would like to acknowledge 2 organisations that are both recognised by the International Olympic Committee. These are the International Paralympics and the Special Olympics.

These are both Not For Profit organisations that promote sport for people living with a disability. They have quite different philosophies and selection criteria. The most significant differences relate to eligibilities:

  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • No athlete is excluded based on qualification
  • Local & International competition held independently of Olympics, year round throughout the world.
  • Stature & the following disability categories : vision, cerebral palsy, amputee, wheelchair, other & Intellectual
  • Elite athletes who compete internationally to qualify
  • International Only (with some domestic opportunities) held 2 weeks after the Olympics every 4 years

The Paralympics values elite skills and competition for athletes, whilst the Special Olympics values the power of sport for all with an intellectual disability.

It has been a huge achievement for these organisations to hold these competitions and provide a platform for people with a disability to be able to compete on the world stage despite the differences in the organization philosophies.

Not withstanding the advances that have been made by these organisations since their inception in the 1960’s, it is difficult to achieve full inclusion of people with a disability in the sporting arena.  The International Olympic Committee is continuing to address this issue.  An international competition that has achieved full integration is the Commonwealth Games that has implemented full integration since 2002.

At Therapies for Kids we strive for inclusion and in our gyms you will see children of all abilities using the same space and equipment to achieve their motor skills.  For many of our children, the effort and work to achieve their physical potential is the same as the athletes participating in the competitions held by those major sports organisations.

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