The Winter Olympics may be over for another two years, but the Paralympics are just getting started. This exciting event is taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea from March 8th to 18th, 2018. Athletes from around the world will gather to compete during this celebration of sportsmanship and comradery. Let’s take a look at some of the major highlights of the Paralympic games this year, as well as some of the iron-willed athletes who make this awesome event possible time and time again.
The Paralympics Attract a Worldwide Audience
Since 1960, disabled athletes from many different cultures and backgrounds have gathered for the Paralympic Games. Originally founded by veterans, the Paralympics allow athletes with many different physical disabilities to compete in various sporting events. Many of the athletes are impacted by disabilities such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, paraplegia, or blindness, but they’ve never allowed this to hold them back!
The Paralympics Offer Something for Everyone
Just like the Olympic Games, the Paralympics alternate between summer and winter sports every two years. In 2018, the Paralympics are focused entirely on winter sports—so get ready to hit the slopes and chill out! From Para Alpine Skiing to Wheelchair Curling, the Paralympic Winter Games have it all. Some other competitions you can expect to see in PyeongChang this year are: Para Cross Country Skiing, Ice Hockey, Biathlon, and Snowboarding.
If you’re more of a “summer games” type of guy, don’t worry. The Paralympic Summer Games will be back in 2020. You can expect to see plenty of other exciting competitions, such as Archery, Para Powerlifting, and Wheelchair Tennis.
The Athletes are the Most Important Part of the Games
The Paralympics have attracted many devoted, inspirational athletes through the years. The men and women who compete in the Paralympics train just as hard as athletes from the Olympic Games, and they take their careers very seriously. Let’s take a minute to get to know a couple of the most notable athletes from Team USA:
Evan Strong earned a gold medal in Para Snowboard Cross in 2014. He lost his left leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident, but he never let that stand in the way of earning worldwide attention from his snowboarding career.
Oskana Masters was Ukranian-born, but she’s proud to represent Team USA in the Olympics. She was born with some severe birth defects that led to her eventually needing to have both legs amputated. The 2018 games will be her fourth time competing in the Paralympics, and she’s earned numerous medals in both the Summer and Winter Paralympics. Her most recent medals were silver and bronze for Nordic Skiing in 2014.
There are countless other talented, determined athletes who have competed in the Paralympics for Team USA through the years, including many former members of the United States military.
What Does It Take to Compete in the Paralympics?
Competing in the Paralympics is a major accomplishment, and it’s just as difficult as it sounds. It takes resolve, determination, and discipline. The Winter Paralympics in particular can be especially challenging, because of the harsh, cold temperatures of PyeongChang. During the Paralympics, the athletes would have been wise to pack their Max and Slate boxer briefs. They’d be guaranteed to stay dry, chafe-free, and warm even on the coldest of South Korean nights.
Through sheer willpower, the athletes are able to brave the cold and fight for a place at the top time and time again. Many of them have earned their spot among the greatest athletes of all time. Tune in to the Paralympics from March 8th to 18th to get a taste of the excitement and sportsmanship yourself!