Explainer: how the Paralympics classification system keeps things fair
Member of Team USA Competes in Paralympic Track and field . Track and field athletes with cerebral palsy Definition: Damage to the central nervous system. The Paralympics are for athletes with a physical, intellectual or visual have events for athletes with any impairment who meet a threshold. Athletes new to the sport will have a status of “N-New,” meaning they Because the USOC cannot be at every single meet in the country, most.
Deals were reached with Asian, South American, and European broadcast companies to distribute coverage to as many markets as possible. The Games were also webcast for the first time. In the UK, it is a legal requirement for the games to be broadcast by a free-to-air broadcaster; the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC was criticized for its minimal coverage of the Winter Paralympics as compared to its coverage of the Winter Olympics.
The BBC announced it would stream some content on its website and show a one-hour highlight program after the Games ended.
The response from the BBC was that budget constraints and the "time zone factor" necessitated a limited broadcast schedule. NRK-sport were critical of parts of the TV production from Vancouver, and notified the EBU of issues such as the biathlon coverage excluding the shooting, and cross-country skiing with skiers in the distance, making it hard to follow the progress of the competition.
NRK were far more pleased with the production of the ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling events, which they felt reached the same level as the Olympic Games. It's about time they caught up. Disability sport classification Olena Iurkovska of Ukraine competing on cross-country sit-skis at the Winter Paralympics. Athletes are divided within each category according to their level of impairment, in a functional classification system which differs from sport to sport.
Categories[ edit ] The IPC has established ten disability categories, including physical, visual, and intellectual impairment. Athletes with one of these disabilities can compete in the Paralympics though not every sport can allow for every disability category. These categories apply to both Summer and Winter Paralympics. Impaired muscle power — With impairments in this category, the force generated by muscles, such as the muscles of one limb, one side of the body or the lower half of the body is reduced, e.
Rio Paralympics An A-Z of Paralympic sport classifications - BBC Sport
Impaired passive range of movement — Range of movement in one or more joints is reduced in a systematic way. Acute conditions such as arthritis are not included.
Loss of limb or limb deficiency — A total or partial absence of bones or joints from partial or total loss due to illness, trauma, or congenital limb deficiency e. Leg-length difference — Significant bone shortening occurs in one leg due to congenital deficiency or trauma. Short stature — Standing height is reduced due to shortened legs, arms and trunk, which are due to a musculoskeletal deficit of bone or cartilage structures.
Hypertonia may result from injury, disease, or conditions which involve damage to the central nervous system e.
Ataxia — Ataxia is an impairment that consists of a lack of coordination of muscle movements e. Athetosis — Athetosis is generally characterized by unbalanced, involuntary movements and a difficulty maintaining a symmetrical posture e.
Visual Impairment — Athletes with visual impairment ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged legally blindto total blindness. This includes impairment of one or more component of the visual system eye structure, receptors, optic nerve pathway, and visual cortex.
Paralympics 2012: classifications explained
Beginning inthese guides along with sighted goalkeepers in 5-a-side football became eligible to receive medals of their own. The IPC primarily serves athletes with physical disabilities, but the disability group Intellectual Disability has been added to some Paralympic Games. This includes only elite athletes with intellectual disabilities diagnosed before the age of The classification systems differ from sport to sport and are intended to open up sports to as many athletes as possible who can participate in fair competitions against athletes with similar levels of ability.
The biggest challenge in the classification system is how to account for the wide variety and severity of disabilities. Consequently, there is a range of impairment within most classifications.
An athlete's medical condition was the only factor used to determine what class they competed in. For example, an athlete who had a spinal cord injury that resulted in lower limb paresis, would not compete in the same wheelchair race as an athlete with a double above-knee amputation.
The fact that their disability caused the same impairment did not factor into classification determination, the only consideration was their medical diagnosis. It was not until views on disabled athletics shifted from just a form of rehabilitation to an end in itself, that the classification system changed from medical diagnosis to a focus on the functional abilities of the athlete.
To prevent this, para-athletes are placed in categories for competition based on their impairment, these are called sport classes. The IPC classification system determines which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how athletes are grouped together for competition.
This, to a certain extent, is similar to grouping athletes by age, gender or weight. In para-sport, athletes are grouped by the degree of activity limitation resulting from the impairment. Different sports require athletes to perform different activities, such as: As sports require different activities, the impact of the impairment on each sport also differs. Therefore, for classification to minimise the impact of impairment on sport performance, classification must be sport specific.
Three steps of Classification Athletes are classified by classifiers, who work together in a classification panel of two or three. They are trained and certified by the International Federation.
When evaluating an athlete, the classification panels always consider three questions, which are answered through the process of athlete evaluation: Does the athlete have an eligible impairment for this sport? Eligible Impairment The first step in disability sport classification is to determine if the athlete has an eligible impairment.
Explanation Impaired muscle power: Reduced force generated by muscles or muscle groups, such as muscles of one limb or the lower half of the body, as caused, for example, by spinal cord injuries, spina bifida or polio Impaired passive range of movement: Range of movement in one or more joints is reduced permanently, for example due to arthrogryposis.
Hypermobility of joints, joint instability, and acute conditions, such as arthritis, are not considered eligible impairments. The secret is a process called classification. Classification is the process of allocating athletes into classes so that they compete against others whose impairment affects them to a similar degree in their sport.
The Paralympics are for athletes with a physical, intellectual or visual impairment. But not every person with a disability is eligible for the Paralympics, and not every athlete who is eligible for the Paralympics is eligible for every sport. Some sports, such as athletics and swimminghave events for athletes with any impairment who meet a threshold disability requirement.
Other sports, such as 7-a-side football or goalballare reserved for athletes with a specific form of impairment. The first element of classification is to determine whether an athlete has an impairment that makes them eligible for a sport. The second element is to determine their class within the sport.
Sports such as swimming have developed a functional classification system, whereby every eligible athlete with a physical impairment is classified into one of ten classes S1 to S This is based on the limitation their level of impairment places on their capacity to swim.
This means that athletes with a spinal cord injury can swim in the same race as athletes with cerebral palsy or limb deficiencies.