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Winter Paralympics 101

The Paralympics are underway this week in Vancouver for the 10th Winter Paralympics since 1976. The Paralympics are just like the Olympics with sporting events specifically for athletes with disabilities. There are 5 main categories of events:


Ice Sledge Hockey


Athletes with leg disabilities qualify to participate in Ice Sledge Hockey. The game is just like real ice hockey with mostly all the same rules. The big difference is that the athletes are sitting in a sledge specifically designed for the sport. The sledge is like a small sled with a single long skate blade running under the middle of the sled. The players use two sticks, similar to ski poles, to propel themselves across the ice. One of the sticks is used to also handle the hockey puck, shoot, pass, and score.


Wheelchair Curling


Wheelchair curling is exactly how it sounds. Athletes in wheelchairs use a long rod, called a throwing stick, to push the rocks across the ice surface to score points just like a regular curling match. Although there is no sweeping, teammates help each other by holding their teammate’s wheelchair in place so that the thrower doesn’t move when he pushes the rock.


Alpine Skiing


Alpine skiing has several events where athletes with different disabilities compete within their own form of downhill skiing. There are athletes with visual impairment who ski with someone to communicate the direction of the course. There are athletes who have disabled legs or one-legged, who ski with normal ski equipment standing. Then there are athletes who ski on a monoski, which is designed for athletes with disabled legs so they can sit while skiing. All three forms of skiing are held on steep downhill runs and the athletes are known to go up to speeds of 60 to 70 mph.


Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon


Much like Alpine Skiing, the Cross-Country Skiing events also have categories for visually impaired, standing, and sitting skiers. They travel distances from the 1km sprint to the 20 km long distance over cross-country terrain. The biathlon is a long cross country race with the skiers shooting targets with a rifle and even the visually impaired participate in this event with a motion sensor that beeps to let them where their gun is pointed.


Icey Inspiration


The Paralympics is truly an inspirational celebration of overcoming adversity. There are lots of sad stories about the athletes and their disabilities, but for them to participate at such high levels of sports really shows that nothing is impossible.


Related Stories:

  • Great Moments in Olympic History
  • New Winter Olympic Sports
  • The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
  • Meet the 2010 Winter Olympic Mascots!


  • 0 Comments

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    F1008965851921

    New Olympic Sports? Vote!

    • Snowball Fights.
    • Full Contact Figure Skating.
    • Short Track Roller Derby.
    • Toboggan Races.

    Sports In The Forums

    unicornsrule626
    "rainbowpoptart" wrote:I hate to be that person who pulls out the dictionary, buuuuut let's look at the definitions for sport (athleticism wise).competitive physical activity: an individual or group competitive activity involving physical exertion or skill, governed by rules, and sometimes engaged in professionallyDoes cheerleading fit under this definition? Yes.pastime: an active pastime participated in for pleasure or exercise Oh look, cheerleading fits under this definition too.Being a cheerleader requires a certain amount of physical fitness. You need to be strong, flexible, and energetic, which are all things not everyone has.It is a form of exercise and entertainment.It is a sport.Is one variant more challenging than the other? Yes, but that does not devalue anything.Not everyone is going to be able to understand the difficulties cheerleaders go through, and that's perfectly fine. Every sport is dangerous, some are just more obvious than others. When people are good at what they do, they make things seem easy. very well said! I was a cheerleader for 2 years until  I aged out, but let ,e tell you, they were 2 of the best,sweaty and most fun years I have ever had
    reply 2 days
    rainbowpoptart
    I hate to be that person who pulls out the dictionary, buuuuut let's look at the definitions for sport (athleticism wise). competitive physical activity: an individual or group competitive activity involving physical exertion or skill, governed by rules, and sometimes engaged in professionally Does cheerleading fit under this definition? Yes. pastime: an active pastime participated in for pleasure or exercise  Oh look, cheerleading fits under this definition too. Being a cheerleader requires a certain amount of physical fitness. You need to be strong, flexible, and energetic, which are all things not everyone has. It is a form of exercise and entertainment. It is a sport. Is one variant more challenging than the other? Yes, but that does not devalue anything. Not everyone is going to be able to understand the difficulties cheerleaders go through, and that's perfectly fine. Every sport is dangerous, some are just more obvious than others. When people are good at what they do, they make things seem easy.
    reply 2 days
    angelover4
    CHEERLEADING IS LIKE DANCE GYMNASTICS MIXED TOGETHER WITH WORDS. AND DANCE AND GYMNASTICS ARE CONSIDERED SPORTS.
    reply 2 days
    angelover4
    I BELIVE ITS A SPORT JUST LIKE I THINK GYMNASTICS IS A SPORT.
    reply 2 days
    angelover4
    I BEL ITS A SPORT JUS TLIKE I THINK GYMNASTICS IS A SPORT.
    reply 2 days