On Friday, February 9th, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will officially begin and run through February 25th. But thankfully, the Winter Olympics aren’t over when the final medals are awarded on the 25th. This leaves us asking: When are the Paralympics? Come March 9th, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics commence and will continue through March 18th.
This year, the PyeongChang Paralympics will feature up to 670 athletes competing in 80 events across six sports. These sports include alpine skiing, the biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling.
Plus, the Paralympics website states there’s 44% increase in female athletes competing since the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. You go!
Having begun in 1960, the Paralympics are currently the third largest sporting event in the world. Although sporting events and clubs for people with impairments have existed for over 100 years, the want for a larger competition increased after World War II. In 1944, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann introduced rehabilitation sport to injured vets and civilians at his spinal injuries center at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain.
Dr. Guttmann’s rehabilitation sport eventually turned into a competitive sport, leading Dr. Guttmann to create the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948. The first wheelchair competition — archery — involved 16 injured servicemen and women. After gaining momentum, the Stoke Mandeville Games became an international movement, thus beginning the Paralympics.
The first official Summer Paralympics took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960 and the first Winter Paralympic Games took place in 1976 in Sweden.
Make sure to tune into the 2018 Winter Paralympics to see the human body and mind tackle incredible athletic feats. We wish all the athletes the best of luck — and we’ll see you on March 9th.