Did you know that the word “Paralympic” is derived from the Greek preposition “para,” meaning “beside” or “alongside?” The Paralympics take place alongside, or parallel to, the prestigious Olympic games. There are six broad Paralympics categories, based on diagnosis, including: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, vision impairment, and "others."
Athletes are competing in the following summer sports, which will be located at different venues in and around Tokyo, Japan: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boccia, Canoe, Cycling, Equestrian, Football 5-a-side, Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Shooting Para sport, Sitting volleyball, Swimming, Table tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Wheelchair basketball, Wheelchair fencing, Wheelchair rugby, and Wheelchair tennis.
August 24 – September 5, 2021
4,400 athletes are expected to compete, hailing from roughly 170 countries, with a total of 539 medals on the line. This year's Paralympic Games will set a participation record for the event. Because so many athletes have signed up, it shows that Japan's government and the International Paralympic Committee are accepting of diversity and inclusion.
A total of 22 sports are on the schedule for this year’s Paralympic games, featuring the debut of Badminton and Taekwondo.
Where To Watch?
NBCUniversal will air a record 1,200 hours of coverage from the Tokyo Paralympic Games, including the first NBC primetime broadcasts in history. Presented by Toyota, it will air for more than 200 TV hours across NBC, NBCSN, and the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. Debut streaming coverage will happen on Peacock, and comprehensive live streaming on NBC Sports digital platforms such as the NBC Sports app. Across these platforms, coverage of every event will total more than 1,000 hours. And if you’re worried that your favorite event isn’t televised, try watching on one of the aforementioned streaming services.
NBC’s primetime coverage will feature top stories and moments from the competition. You can also look forward to individual profiles, and interviews with Team USA athletes.
NBCSN airs the Opening and Closing Ceremonies live. The station features daily content from Tokyo, during the local time of 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Keep in mind that, in Florida (Eastern Standard Time), we are 13 hours ahead of Japan Standard Time. To accommodate those of us in the U.S., the Paralympic Games are both airing live, and are being replayed.
Peacock will stream medal round competition, including men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball, and women’s sitting volleyball. In Particular, the U.S. won these events in the 2016 Paralympic games hosted in Rio. Click here to learn more from NBC Sports PR.
What Is Classification?
For those who might not know, Paralympic athletes are grouped together, based on their physical abilities. These classifications are used to decide where individual athletes are eligible to compete for each sport. By grouping athletes into classes, based on their ability to perform certain activities, these classifications aim to create a level playing field across teams.
What Is The History Of The Paralympics?
In 1944, at the request of the British Government, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann opened a spinal injuries centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain. Patients of this institution engaged in what was called “rehabilitation sport,” which helped to improve their physical and mental health. In time, these rehabilitation sports evolved to recreational sports, before finally becoming competitive in nature. On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes. He named this event the “Stoke Mandeville Games,” which were a milestone in Paralympic history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women, who competed in archery. The Stoke Mandeville Games eventually turned into the Paralympic Games, which first took place in 1960, in Rome, Italy. This competition featured 400 athletes, who hailed from 23 countries. Since then, they’ve been held every fourth year.
Who Is The Paralympic Mascot?
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic mascot's name is Someity. Pronounced “soh-may-tee,” it comes from someiyoshino, a popular cherry blossom variety. Additionally, it echoes the English phrase, “so mighty.”
Are The Paralympic Medals Different Than Their Olympic Counterparts?
For the first time in Paralympic history, a series of circular indentations were made on the side of each medal. This choice was made for competitors with visual impairments, and was designed so that individuals can recognize these medals by touch. One indentation represents gold, two indentations distinguish silver, and three indentations identify bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on the medals’ faces.
The medals were manufactured from recycled, precious metals. This unique material was extracted from mobile phones, as well as other small electronic devices, which werew donated by the public.
The medal ribbons, which are decorated in the Games’ colors of indigo and crimson, employ traditional Japanese design motifs of harmonized checkered emblems (kumiichi matsumon). This design expresses both the festive spirit of the Games, and the principle of “Unity Diversity.”
What About The Torch?
“Share Your Light'' is one of the major themes behind the Paralympic Games. Uniting tradition and modern technology, the shape of the torch resembles that of a traditional, Japanese “Sakuramon'' cherry blossom emblem. Someity, the aforementioned Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games mascot, and its design are also based on the cherry blossom. It was shaped into its current form from the aluminium extrusion technology, which was used in the manufacture of Shinkansen bullet trains. It forms a seamless, single piece, in a form that symbolizes the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay. Continuing with the theme, it was created by fusing Japanese tradition and modern technology.
What Is The Meaning Behind The Torch And Japan’s Overall Message?
The manufacturing of the torch embodies the spirit of recovery, and consideration for sustainability. Aluminium construction waste was used to create the torch, which came from the temporary housing built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. This process transformed this destruction into a symbol of peace, and will convey the extent to which the affected areas are recovering, one piece at a time.
When Is the Paralympic Torch Relay?
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay will take place between August 13-25, during the transition period between the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. It will be separated into three parts:
Part 1: Flame Festivals
A Heritage Flame Celebration will be held in Great Britain’s Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. Flame-lighting festivals will take place at several locations across Japan, between August 13-17.
Part 2: Paralympic Torch Relay
In addition to the flame-lighting festival and flame visits, torch relays will be held in these three prefectures, each hosting Paralympic events. Teams of three torchbearers will transport the flame, boosting public interest and support, ahead of the Paralympic Games.
Part 3: Nationwide relays arrive in Tokyo
The flames from each lighting festival, as well as the torch relays, will be brought together in Tokyo on August 21. Here, the official Paralympic Flame will be lit. The final four days of the Paralympic Torch Relay will then commence in Tokyo.