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Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

September 07, 2016

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are upon us! The opening ceremony is tonight, and then for the next 11 days we get to witness amazing feats and records being set as para-athletes from around the world compete in 23 different sports. Each year more and more fans become interested in the Paralympics – not surprisingly the increased interest comes alongside television networks upping their coverage of the events.


When familiarizing themselves with the Paralympics, one of the first questions people ask is how the athletes with different disabilities compete with one another. For instance, how can a person who has a visual impairment compete with someone who may be missing a limb or has impaired muscle power? In short, they don’t. According to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), para-athletes are “placed in categories for competition based on their impairment, and these are called sport classes.” This classification determines how athletes are grouped together and whether or not they are eligible to compete in a sport. The classifiers ask themselves three questions as they evaluate an athlete for classification:

  1. Does the athlete have an eligible impairment for this sport?
  2. Does the athlete’s eligible impairment meet the minimum disability criteria of the sport?
  3. Which sport class describes the athlete’s activity limitation most accurately?

To learn more about classification, visit the IPC’s site or Team USA’s site on the topic.


MPower Sports & Recreation has created a Fan Guide for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which includes a list of ways fans can watch the Games, links to announcers’ and analysts’ Twitter accounts, and more information on athlete classification.

The IPC also created a map and list indicating how people in different countries can tune into the Rio 2016 Paralympics. To see which day your favorite events will occur, check out their official event schedule.

We especially enjoyed this fun video from Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.

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