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This includes only elite athletes with intellectual disabilities diagnosed before the age of Within the disability categories, the athletes still need to be divided according to level of impairment. The classification systems differ from sport to sport and are intended to open up sports to as many athletes as possible who can participate in fair competitions against athletes with similar levels of ability. The biggest challenge in the classification system is how to account for the wide variety and severity of disabilities.

Consequently, there is a range of impairment within most classifications. From its inception until the s, the Paralympic system for classifying athletes consisted of a medical evaluation and diagnosis of impairment. An athlete's medical condition was the only factor used to determine what class they competed in. For example, an athlete who had a spinal cord injury that resulted in lower limb paresis, would not compete in the same wheelchair race as an athlete with a double above-knee amputation.

The fact that their disability caused the same impairment did not factor into classification determination, the only consideration was their medical diagnosis. It was not until views on disabled athletics shifted from just a form of rehabilitation to an end in itself, that the classification system changed from medical diagnosis to a focus on the functional abilities of the athlete.

While there is no clear date when the shift occurred, a functional classification system became the norm for disabled athletic classification in the s.

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In a functional system, the focus is on what effect the athlete's impairment has on his or her athletic performance. Under this system, athletes with total loss of function in their legs will compete together in most sports, because their functional loss is the same and the reason for the loss is immaterial. The only exception to the functional system is the classification format used by International Blind Sports Federation IBSA , which still uses a medically based system.

Some sports are only held for certain disability types.


For example, goalball is only for visually impaired athletes. The Paralympics recognizes three different grades of visual impairment, consequently all competitors in goalball must wear a visor or "black out mask" so that athletes with less visual impairment will not have an advantage. In athletics, participants are broken down into a range of classes based on the disability they have and then they are placed in a classification within that range based on their level of impairment. For example: classes 11—13 are for visually impaired athletes, which class they are in depends on their level of visual impairment.

Members of the team are each given a point value based on their activity limitation. A lower score indicates a more severe activity limitation than a higher score. A team cannot have more than a certain maximum total of points on the field of play at the same time to ensure equal competition. For example, in wheelchair rugby, the four players' combined disability number must total no more than eight points.

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  6. There are twenty-two sports on the Summer Paralympic program and five sports on the Winter Paralympics program. Within some of the sports are several events. For example, alpine skiing has downhill, super combined, super-G, slalom, giant slalom. The IPC has governance over several of the sports but not all of them. After the Sydney games , a Spanish basketball player alleged that several members of the gold-medal winning Spanish basketball intellectually disabled ID team were not disabled.

    He claimed that only two athletes out of the twelve-member team met the qualifications of an intellectually disabled athlete. In an interview with the president of the federation that oversees ID competition, Fernando Martin Vicente admitted that athletes around the world were breaking the ID eligibility rules.

    The IPC responded by starting an investigation of its own. Four sports, swimming, athletics, table tennis and rowing, were anticipated to hold competitions for ID athletes at the Summer Paralympics.

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    The Paralympics have also been tainted by steroid use. At the Games in Beijing, three powerlifters and a German basketball player were banned after having tested positive for banned substances. He had won two gold medals at the Winter Paralympics , but his medals were stripped after his positive drug test.

    He was removed from the rest of the curling competition but his team was allowed to continue. The year-old curler said his doctor had prescribed a medication on the banned substances list. Another concern now facing Paralympic officials is the technique of " boosting ". This is most effective in the endurance sports such as cross-country skiing.

    To increase blood pressure athletes will deliberately cause trauma to limbs below a spinal injury. This trauma can include breaking bones, strapping extremities in too tightly, and using high-pressure compression stockings. The injury is painless but it does affect the athlete's blood pressure. Another potential concern is the use of gene therapy among Paralympic athletes. All Paralympic athletes are banned from enhancing their abilities through gene doping , but it is extremely difficult to differentiate these concepts.

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    Having sent samples for forensic analysis, the International Paralympic Committee IPC found evidence that the prevalent doping by Russian athletes was in operation at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi. Trischa Zorn of the United States is the most decorated Paralympian in history. She competed in the blind swimming events and won a total of 55 medals, 41 of which are gold.

    She was also an alternate on the American Olympic swim team, but did not go to the Olympics due to a boycott by the United States and several of its allies. Competing in a variety of events between and , she won a total of 22 medals, of which 17 were gold. After winning five gold medals at the Games she retired at the age of She placed thirty-fourth in the Olympic archery competition, and won a Paralympic gold medal in the same event. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Major international sport event for people with disabilities.

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    Theory and models. Physical Occupational Speech. Societal implications.

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    Disability rights movement Inclusion Normalization People-first language Pejorative terms. Personal assistance. Socioeconomic assistance. Groups Organizations. Disabled sports. Disability in the arts Disability art Disability in the media. Disability Lists. Further information: World Wheelchair and Amputee Games. Further information: Chronology of the Paralympic Movement. Main article: Winter Paralympic Games. Main article: International Paralympic Committee. Main article: Paralympic symbols.

    See also: List of athletes who have competed in the Paralympics and Olympics. Further information: Disability sport classification. Main article: Paralympic sports. Main article: Cheating at the Paralympic Games.