Bundle up all the characteristics found in Olympians, add in additional extraordinary skill and admirable efforts and you end up with Paralympians. On March 12th, 2010 the Paralympics will start in Vancouver. 1,350 athletes from 43 different countries will compete in 64 events. Now that the 2010 Winter Olympics have ended, many people feel that the intensity of the Olympics focus should remain strong as we welcome the Paralympics to Vancouver.
To put this in perspective, the Paralympics represent the strongest example of honouring diversity in our society. The athletes have overcome significant challenges in order to compete in these games.
The categories in the Paralympics include:
- Amputee: Athletes with a partial or total loss of at least one limb.
- Cerebral Palsy: Athletes with non-progressive brain damage, for example cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke or similar disabilities affecting muscle control, balance or coordination.
- Intellectual Disability: Athletes with a significant impairment in intellectual functioning and associated limitations in adaptive behavior. (This category is currently suspended.)
- Wheelchair: Athletes with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities which require them to compete in a wheelchair.
- Visually Impaired: Athletes with vision impairment ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged legally blind, to total blindness.
- Les Autres: Athletes with a physical disability that does not fall strictly under one of the other five categories, such as dwarfism, multiple sclerosis or congenital deformities of the limbs such as that caused by thalidomide (the name for this category is the French for “the others”).
Paralympians are classified into one of three categories: visually impaired, standing or sitting
Canadian families can relate to this concept of diversity. Between physical, emotional and psychological and/or learning challenges, many children in Canadian households and within extended families experience some kind of disability that sets them apart as being different from the idealized notion of “norm”. In this way we all can empathize with and appreciate the accomplishments of the Paralympians.
So let the games begin, bring on the enthusiasm and please feel free to share this posting with your friends by E-mail or on your social network.
If you are planning to attend the games we would love to hear your plans or hear about your experiences.
Five sports will be on the 2010 program:
- Alpine Skiing: completed on a single ski, without ski poles or navigating based on a guide’s directions
- Biathlon: Biathletes with a visual impairment ski with a guide and shoot with electronic rifles enabling them to aim by sound
- Cross country skiing: skis move parallel in the tracks, push off with the edge of their skis like skaters or sit ski in a track while seated in a sit-ski
- Wheelchair curling: all elements are the same except for sweeping. More results remain in play.
- Sledge hockey: athletes use two double ended sticks, one end has a curved blade for the puck while picks on the other end help maneuvere the sledge.
Saturday, March 13
- Opening ceremony 2PM CTV
- Sledge Hockey: Canada Vs Italy 10 AM, Rogers Sportsnet Pacific (live); 4 PM, CTV (delay)
Sunday, March 14
- Sledge hockey: Canada vs. Sweden, 1:30 PM, RSP (live)
- Daily highlights 3 PM, CTV
Monday, March 15
- Daily highlights, 12:30 PM, TSN
Tuesday, March 16
- Sledge hockey: Canada vs. Norway, 8:30 PM, TSN (live)
- Daily highlights: 3:30 PM, RSP
Wednesday, March 17
- Daily highlights: 3:30 PM, RSP
Thursday, March 18
- Sledge hockey: semifinal, 12 noon, RSP (live)
- Daily highlights: 12:30 PM, TSN
Friday, March 19
- Daily highlights: 12:3 PM, TSN
Saturday, March 20
- Sledge hockey: gold-medal game, 12 noon, CTV (live)
- Daily highlights: 10:30 AM, RSP
Sunday, March 21
- Daily highlights: 4 PM, CTV
Local sites from the Winter Olympics that are operating during the Paralympics include:
* The British Columbia Pavilion
*LiveCity Downtown, Georgia and Beatty, 11 – 12:30 AM (Visit a created “piazza” featuring a large outdoor screen, daytime interactive school programming and street entertainment. This site opens Feb. 11th. It will reopen during the Paralympics from March 12 to March 21.)
* Olympic Cauldron
* Vancouver Art Gallery (Free admission during the games, open until 9 PM, Michael Lin artwork on north facade and free admission to a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition)
* Ziptrek Vancouver, Robson between Hornby and Howe Streets (A unique opportunity to zip over Robson Square).
Official Paralympic site (with news about ticket purchase)
Purchase Olympic street banners and help raise money for Haiti
First ever Paralymipcs torch relay (news article)