Major Differences Between The Paralympics And The Olympics

2014 words - 9 pages

: Julia Bedingham


• History
• Classification systems
• Exceptions
• Paralympic and Olympic differences in swimming
• Discrimination
• Same rules apply
• Conclusion
• Bibliography
• Plagiarism Checker


Is there any difference between the Paralympics and the Olympic games? There are many debates around the world about the discrimination of Paralympic athletes. The main issue debated is media attention and coverage – whether the Paralympic games receives enough coverage, compared with the Olympic games which is sponsored and covered exhaustively by global media. This report is on the main differences between the Paralympics and the Olympics, specifically in the sport of swimming.

(oliver Brown 12)


The Olympic games originated in Greece around 760BC. They were created to showcase different physical abilities of the participants. Different physical attributes were idealised, the Greeks believed that to have these abilities was to honour Zeus (one of the Greek gods). When the games started there was only one event to compete in, the 192 metre-running races. Gradually more events like jumping and discus were added in.
(Anon., n.d.)
The Olympic games have expanded and today 205 countries are able to compete in 41 different events! (Anon., n.d.) Swimming was introduced into the Olympics in 1896. (Anon., 2007)

The Para-Olympic Games first started in 1948. They were started so that war veterans with injuries could compete and thus improve the healing process of their injuries. The word “para” is Greek for “alongside” showing that the Paralympics run alongside the Olympics. The Paralympics (for physical disabilities’) however must not be confused with the Special Olympics (mental disorders or disabilities). In 2012 164 countries were able to participate in the Paralympics in 20 different sports. Though people may complain that this is half the amount of events as in the Olympics, it is all the sports that are possible to play with disabilities while being realistic. (Anon., n.d.)

The aim of the Olympics is to showcase physical abilities. Just as this is done in the Olympics it is done in the Paralympics. The games are structured so that winning may be based on skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. In order for this to be the case the athletes are ordered in what is called ‘the classification system’. (Official website of Paralympic movement)

The Classification System

Olympic athletes are categorised according to their speed and physical abilities. Paralympic athletes however are classified according to their individual disabilities. This classification system allows a fair game to be played amongst athletes. Here are some examples of classifications:

“Sport Classes”
The sport class names in Swimming consist of a prefix “S”, “SM”, or “SB” and a number. The prefixes stand for the event and the number indicates the sport class the athlete competes in the respective event....

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