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The Paralympic Games is a very major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power (e.g. paraplegia and quadriplegia muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, spina bifida), impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency (e.g. amputation or dysmelia), leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, are held almost immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The Paralympics has grown from a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948 to become one of the largest international sporting events by the early 21st century. The Paralympics has grown from 400 athletes with a disability from 23 countries in 1960 to thousands of competitors from over 100 countries in the London 2012 Games. Paralympians strive for equal treatment with non-disabled Olympic athletes, but there is a large funding gap between Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

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Flag of the United Kingdom

Great Britain competed at the 2002 Winter Paralympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, from March 7 to March 16, 2002. The team was able to be made up of athletes from the whole United Kingdom; athletes from Northern Ireland, who elected to hold Irish citizenship under the pre-1999 article 2 of the Irish constitution, were eligible to represent either Great Britain or Ireland at the Paralympics. However no Northern Irish athletes took part in the Winter Paralympics until 2010 in Vancouver. In order to be eligible to take part in the Games athletes had to have a disability that fell into one of the six Paralympics disability categories.

Two British athletes competed, both in alpine skiing events, and no medals were won. The size of the team was a decrease from that which had entered previous Games, in the 1998 Winter Paralympics 20 British athletes had participated. One reason for this is that whilst funding for the two athletes was provided by the British Paralympic Association, it totalled only £1,500 compared to the £4 million worth of funding available to British athletes at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

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Pistorius taking part in an event in Iceland

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (born 22 November 1986) is a South African Paralympic runner. Known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs", Pistorius, who has a double amputation, is the world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres T44 events. In 2008 he attempted to qualify to represent South Africa at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Having had an IAAF band on the use of his artificial lower legs overturned he failed to achieve the required qualifying time by 0.70 seconds but went on to compete at the 2008 Summer Paralympics where he won three gold medals.

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Paralympics Task Force

  • The Paralympics Task Force is a task force that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Paralympics related articles.
  • The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to the Paralympics, as well as to create any missing articles.
  • To become a member of this Task Force (anyone may join), simply click here - and add {{user|YourUsernameHere}}
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Vancouver, BC viewed from the south with mountains behind.
Credit: Thomas Quine

Host of the 2010 Winter Paralympics, Vancouver, viewed from the south with mountains behind.

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Paralympics countdown

Paralympic Games
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649 days left
雪中紫禁城 5.jpg Beijing
1205 days left
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2120 days left
Parapan American Games Asian Para Games Commonwealth Games
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IPC World Athletics Championships IPC World Swimming Championships European Athletics Championship
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