Paralympic games, series of international sports contests for athletes with physical, visual, and intellectual impairments. The games grew out of a gathering of British World War II veterans organized by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann on the opening day of the 1948 London Olympics. The first official Paralympic games were held in Rome in 1960 following the summer Olympics there, and the first winter Paralympics were held in Sweden in 1976. The Paralympics are governed by the International Paralympic Committee, and now take place immediately following the summer and winter Olympic games at their respective venues. Athletes are tested by a sports medicine professional for general functioning and movement ability and are given a classification that allows for fair competition among those of similar ability. Guides, wheelchairs, and prosthetics are used in some of the sports. Two sports are unique to the games: goalball, in which a team tries to get a heavy ball filled with bells into their opponents' net, and boccia, in which athletes try to roll, throw, or kick balls close to a target ball.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Sports