/ (ˌpærəˈlɪmpɪks) /
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pl n
the Paralympics a sporting event, modelled on the Olympic Games, held solely for disabled competitorsAlso known as: the Parallel Olympics
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Word Origin for Paralympics

C20: parallel + Olympics
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


What are the Paralympics?

The Paralympics, formally called the Paralympic Games, are an international athletic competition featuring multiple sporting events between athletes with a range of bodily differences and disabilities.

The event is modeled after the Olympic Games, featuring the world’s top athletes in their sports, with the top three finishers in each event being awarded medals: gold for first place, silver for second place, and bronze for third place. Like the Olympics, there are Winter and Summer versions of the Paralympics, and they are usually held after the corresponding Olympic event in the same city.

The Winter Paralympics feature winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, and many others. The Summer Paralympics feature traditionally warm weather and indoor sports, like track and field, swimming, and wheelchair basketball, among many others.

Eligibility for and competition in the Paralympics is based on categories that involve bodily differences and different types of disabilities, including those related to muscle power and movement, range of movement, limb differences, visual impairment, and intellectual disabilities.

Athletes who compete in the Paralympics can be called Paralympians.

When are the Paralympics?

The 2020 Summer Paralympics were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be held from August 24 to September 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. The 2022 Winter Paralympics are scheduled from March 4 to March 13, 2022, in Beijing, China.

Because they are held after the Olympic Games, the Paralympics are now usually staggered so that there is two years between the Summer Paralympics and the Winter Paralympics, with each being held every four years (usually in even-numbered years). The Summer Paralympics are typically held in August or September and the Winter Paralympics are typically held in March.

More information and context the Paralympics

The Para in Paralympics comes from the word parallel—another name for the Paralympic Games is the Parallel Olympics.

The Paralympics trace their origin to the opening of the 1948 Olympic Games in London, during which an archery tournament was held among former British soldiers in wheelchairs. The event was named the Stoke Mandeville Games after the name of a hospital that treated patients with spinal injuries. The event was hosted periodically until 1960, when it officially became the Paralympic Games and was hosted alongside the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. The event has taken place every four years since. The Winter Paralympics were established in 1976.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing the Paralympics?

How are the Paralympics discussed in real life?

The Paralympics feature elite athletes competing at the highest level in a range of different sports.

Try using Paralympics!

True or False?

The Paralympics are always held in the same city.

How to use Paralympics in a sentence