The Paralympic Games Explained

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Taylor & Francis, Aug 5, 2009 - Social Science - 180 pages
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The Paralympic Games is the second largest multi-sport festival on earth and an event which poses profound and challenging questions about the nature of sport, disability and society. The Paralympic Games Explained is the first complete introduction to the Paralympic phenomenon, exploring every key aspect and issue, from the history and development of the Paralympic movement to the economic and social impact of the contemporary Games.

The book introduces the three most important theoretical models of disability (medical, social and bio-social), to enable the reader to fully understand the Paralympics in the context of wider discussions of disability in society. It also offers a straightforward explanation of the importance of language and terminology in shaping our understanding of disability and disability sport. Including international examples and comparative material throughout, the book offers detailed and broad-ranging discussion of key issues such as:

  • how societal attitudes influence disability sport
  • the governance of Paralympic and elite disability sport
  • the relationship between the Paralympics and the Olympics
  • drugs and technology in disability sport
  • classification in disability sport.

Containing useful features throughout, such as review questions, study activities, web links and guides to further reading, The Paralympic Games Explained is the most accessible, comprehensive and thoughtful guide to the Paralympics currently available. It is essential reading for all students with an interest in disability sport, sporting mega-events, the politics of sport, or disability in society.

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The Paralympics Games are a multi-sport event for athletes with physical, mental and sensorial disabilities. This includes mobility disabilities, amputees, visual disabilities and those with cerebral palsy. They are designed to emphasize the participants' athletic achievements, not their disability. On the day of the opening of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann of Stoke Mandeville Hospital organized a sports competition for British World War II veteran patients with spinal cord injuries. The games were held again at the same location in 1952, and Dutch veterans took part alongside the British, making it the first international competition of its kind. These Stoke Mandeville Games have been described as the precursors of the Paralympics Games. The Paralympics were subsequently officialised as a quadrennial event tied to the Olympic Games, and the first official Paralympics Games, no longer open solely to war veterans, were held in Rome in 1960. At the Toronto 1976 Games other groups of athletes with different disabilities were also included. There are winter and summer Paralympics games.
The summer Paralympics games are archery, athletics, boccia, cycling, bowls, equestrian, football 5-a-side, football 7-a-side, goal ball, judo, power lifting, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, volleyball, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair dance sports, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis. There are also few winter Paralympics games which are alpine, ice sledge hockey, Nordic skiing and wheelchair curling

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About the author (2009)

Dr Ian Brittain has formerly been an Executive Board member of the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation and was the Sports Co-ordinator for the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation World Games in Rio de Janiero. He has attended the last three Summer Paralympic Games in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. His research focuses upon sociological, historical and sports management aspects of Paralympic and disability sport.

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