What is paralympics? It means parallel to the Olympics. Competitions and events are held immediately following the Olympic Games and at the same locations.
There are over 100 community organizations partnering to form a network.
Since 2001, the US Paralympics (a division of the US Olympic Committee), has been helping educate and promote physically disabled Americans to achieve their dreams. They partner with medical facilities, community organizations and government agencies to promote the sports movement and improve the lives of people with disabilities.
The Need Is There
There are currently over 21 million Americans with physical disabilities. Recently thousands of military personnel have sustained serious injuries during active duty. Benefits of daily activity include not only improved self esteem, but also peer relationships, better overall health and improved quality of life. Most people with physical disabilities do not have the opportunity to participate in regular sports activities.
Four Key Areas
There are four key areas that they operate programs in.
The out reach program connects individuals with disabilities directly and supports this sport program development. The program goals are to increase partnerships for Americans with disabilities across the country through existing organizations as well as development of new programs.
The academy program encourages students with physical disabilities (ages 12-18) as well as teachers and coaches who instruct them to participate in a three tier program at state, national and international events. Through clinics, friendly competition, mentoring activities and networking they discover what ability means. State academies are hosted by local organizations that specialize in these sport programs.
The rehabilitation program was developed for wounded WWII veterans, which was the founding of the paralympic movement. The military program returns to its initial concept when providing rehab support and mentoring to American servicemen and women who have sustained physical injuries. These veterans are given the opportunity to learn sport techniques through camps and clinics. They are also connected with ongoing sports programs in their own communities. It is not just about sports; it is also about attitude and promoting active, healthy lifestyles.
The US organization leads the preparation and selection of national teams for 24 sporting events. Athletes represent the US in the Paralympic Games and International Competitions. These games are the second largest sporting event in the world following the Olympic Games and are held in the same venues immediately following the Olympic Games.
International Paralympic Committee
The international paralympic committee is the governing body of the movement and organizes the summer and winter games. It serves as the international federation for 9 sports, supervises and coordinates world competitions and championships. It was founded in September 1989, is a nonprofit organization and is served by over 160 national committees, four discipline specific organizations in five regions. It's current headquarters are in Bonn, Germany.