Born in 1948, they were initially called the International Wheelchair and Amputee Games and athletes with motor disabilities competed in them. The initiative came from the neurologist Ludwig Guttmann, an Englishman who organized this competition for World War II veterans. The success of the competitions led to the organization in Rome in 1960 of a competition open to all countries and athletes with various disabilities, considering this event as the first Paralympic Games. In 1989, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was founded, in charge of coordinating the Paralympic Games, made up of 174 national Paralympic Committees and whose motto is: "Allow Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world" . Disability and level of impairment classifies athletes into 10 different categories: physical, visual and intellectual. Physical disabilities are eight: 1. Decreased muscle capacity 2. Decreased muscle range of motion 3. Loss of limb or limb deficiency 4. Difference in leg length 5. Short stature 6. Spasticity (condition in which the tension of the muscles is greater and the ability to stretch is decreased) 7. Ataxia (lack of coordination in muscle movements) 8. Athetosis (involuntary and uncontrolled muscle movements) Visual disabilities: 9. Normal 10. Partial
Intellectual disabilities (diagnosed with this condition before the age of 18). In the last Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which were held a few months ago, in September 2021 due to the pandemic, 22 different sports were competed for 12 days of competition and brought together some 4,400 athletes from around 160 different countries. They disputed 539 events and won medals in 272 in the men's category, 227 in the women's category and 40 in the mixed category. In these last summer Paralympic Games the following sports modalities have been played: - Athletics - Badminton - Wheelchair Basketball - Boccia - Cycling - Horse riding - Wheelchair fencing - Soccer 5 - Goalball - Weightlifting (power lifting) - Judo - Swimming - Paratriathlon - Canoeing - rowing - Wheelchair rugby - Taekwondo - Table tennis - Archery and Olympic shooting - Candle - Sitting volleyball - Adapted tennis The following sports are played at the Paralympic Winter Games: • Wheelchair Curling • Nordic Skiing or Cross Country Skiing and Paralympic Biathlon • Paralympic Alpine Skiing • Ice Sledge Hockey or Sledge Hockey • Paralympic Snowboarding As a curious fact I will tell you that Pal Szekeres, Hungarian by birth, is so far the only person who has won an Olympic medal and another Paralympic medal, also in different sports. The first was in Seoul 1988 as a professional fencer and, after suffering a bus accident in 1991, he won gold in wheelchair fencing at Barcelona 92. Another proper name is that of Trischa Zorn (USA), a visually impaired swimmer who has participated in 7 Paralympic editions and who is, without a doubt, the most successful athlete with 41 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze medals. We cannot forget 'our' Teresa Perales, Princess of Asturias Award for Sports. The swimmer from Zaragoza has achieved 7 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze medals in five Paralympic participations.