After the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia the 2014 Paralympic Games will begin. The Paralympics is an international sporting event with summer and winter games with athletes who have physical and intellectual disabilities. The athletes may be amputees, blind or have cerebral palsy. They may be in wheelchairs or other categories including dwarfism, multiple sclerosis or congenital disorders.
The Paralympics began in 1948 in Britain with a small group of disabled World War II veterans. Since then it has grown into an international event held alongside the Olympic Games. The aim of Paralympic athletes is for equal treatment with Olympic athletes. The games are designed to highlight the achievements of the athletes and not the disabilities.
This year there will be 32 events with para-snowboarding for the first time. In the Alpine Skiing program the events are men and women Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slolam, and Slolam, Super combined and Snowboard cross sitting, standing and visually impaired. There will be 18 Biathlon events, 20 Cross-country skiing events, Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling.
This year 47 countries will participate in the Paralympic Winter Games with this being the first for Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. However, there will be no athletes from the continent of Africa participating.
Athletes to keep an eye on to medal this year are Andrea Rothfuss, Alpine Skier from Germany and Amy Purdy from the USA. Brad Bowden from Canada and Steve Cash from the USA are ones to look out for in Ice Sledge Hockey. Mikhalina Lysova from Russia and Kozo Kubo from Japan are stand-outs in Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon. Jalie Jungnell from Sweden and Svetiana Pakhomova from Russia are the best in Wheel Chair Curling.
After you enjoyed the incredible athletic feats of the Olympics do not forget to tune into the Paralympics for more athletic wonders.
This article pays a special tribute to Australian snowboarder, Matthew Robinson who died on Friday, February 21 prior to the Paralympic Games. He died of complications from a race accident on February 12th.