How can I become a Paralympic athlete?

If you are interested in competing as a Paralympic athlete, the best course of action would be to contact the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) in your country. You can find a list of NPCs and contact information on the IPC Website.

How can I find information on a specific sport?

Info about all sports on the Paralympic Summer and Winter Programme can be found on the IPC website under 'Sports'.

How can I become a referee or official during Paralympic Games?

There is a lot of training and expertise necessary before someone can work as an official at Paralympic Games level. If you are interested in becoming a referee or official, please contact your NPC or local sports club.

Where can I find the most current rankings and world records?

Current rankings and world records for several sports can be found on the IPC website under the respective sport. These rankings are updated following all major competitions. For most updated records and rankings you can also contact the Sports Organisations directly.

How can I find information about a specific athlete?

Provided you know the athlete's name and country he or she represents, you can contact their National Paralympic Committee (NPC). You can also have a look at the athlete biographies on the IPC website.

What is the appropriate way to report on persons with an impairment?

A few general rules to remember when speaking, interviewing or socialising with a person or an athlete with an impairment can be found in the Guide to reporting on persons with an impairment.

I want to see the Paralympic Games - where can I find information on travel, accommodation and tickets?

All of the information that you need to go to the Paralympic Games is available on the website of the respective Organising Committees. Information about the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games can be found at www.pyeongchang2018.com, and information about the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is located at www.tokyo2020.com.

Can you send me pins, pens and souvenirs from the Paralympic Games?

The best source for any type of Paralympic Games-related merchandise can be found on the websites of the Organising Committees. If you are looking for souvenirs from past Paralympic Games, it would be best to contact a merchant dealing specifically with Paralympic memorabilia.

How can I volunteer for the Paralympic Games, World Championships and Regional Championships?

The best way to become a volunteer for the Paralympic Games, World Championships and Regional Championships is to contact the Organising Committees of the competitions. For the Paralympic Games, please go to www.pyeongchang2018.com, www.tokyo2020.jp or www.beijing2022.cn. For World and Regional Championships, you can find a listing of events and contact information by accessing the calendar on this website.

What is the contact information for the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) in my country?

You can find the contact information for every NPC on the IPC's website.

There is no National Paralympic Committee (NPC) in my country. How do I participate?

The current structure of Paralympic competition does not allow athletes to compete without having representation from a NPC.

What is classification? Can you explain the classification system?

Classification is simply a structure for competition. Not unlike wrestling, boxing and weightlifting, where athletes are categorised by weight classes, athletes with a disability are grouped in classes defined by the degree of function presented by the disability.

Traditionally there are athletes who belong to six different disability groups in the Paralympic Movement: amputee, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, spinal injury, intellectual disability and a group which includes all those that do not fit into the aforementioned groups (les autres).

Sport classes are determined by a variety of processes that may include a physical and technical assessment and observation in and out of competition. The classes are defined by each sport and form part of the sport rules.

Classification is an ongoing process. When an athlete starts competing, they are allocated a sport class that may be reviewed throughout the athlete's career. Sports certify individuals to conduct the process of classification and these officials are known as classifiers.

For more information about classification, please see the Classification section.

What is the Paralympic Movement?

The Paralympic Movement encompasses all athletes and officials belonging to the NPCs, the IOSDs, the International Federations (IFs), the Regional Organisations (ROs), the IPC Regional Committees, the IOSD Sports, the IPC Sports, IPC Councils, IPC Standing Committees, other IPC bodies and any other organisations who agree to be guided by the IPC Constitution and Bylaws. The criteria for belonging to the Paralympic Movement is formal membership or recognition by the IPC.

What are the IPC Sports?

There are currently 28 sports on the Paralympic Programme (22 summer, 6 winter). Nine of these sports plus one non-Paralympic sport (Para alpine skiing, Para athletics, Para biathlon, Para cross-country skiing, Para ice hockey, Para powerlifting, shooting Para sport, Para snowboard, Para swimming, Para dance sport) are governed by the IPC, hence they used to be called IPC Sports.

How can our organisation apply a sport to be included in the Paralympic Programme?

Any sport that wishes to be considered for the Paralympic Games must apply at least seven years before the Paralympic Games in question. The Paralympic Programme is re-evaluated each quadrennium to ensure that each sport meets specific criteria in order to maintain elite standards. The criteria are based on the principles of quality, quantity and universality. Quality refers to the competitive quality of events and disciplines offered on a sport's quadrennial competition programme. Quantity refers to the number of nations widely practicing a sport at elite level. Universality refers to the number of regions a sport is widely practiced in. The specific criteria is outlined in the IPC Handbook.

The review process respects the autonomy of the different sports by evaluating them based on official results from competitions over the last quadrennium. This means that, for instance, a sport aiming to be on the 2024 Paralympic Winter Games would be evaluated based on results and data between the 2016 and the 2020 Paralympic Winter Games. The sports programme for the 2024 Games is thus determined around the 2020 Games, i.e. four years in advance. Queries on application procedures and requirements can be directed to the Sports Department at the IPC Headquarters.

Why are certain sports not a Paralympic Sport, or why are certain sports not on the Paralympic Sport Programme?

The criteria established for the determination of sports, disciplines and events looks to achieve a programme that reflects diversity and the highest standards of athletic excellence whilst guaranteeing regional access for qualification and elite opportunities for all athletes, especially women and athletes with severe disabilities. Only events that meet the standards within the timeline established are considered for inclusion on the Paralympic Games Programme. Please visit the IPC Handbook for details.

What is doping and who performs the test?

At the Rio 2016 Paralympics, 1,320 doping tests have been executed prior and during competitions using the same equipment, laboratory and standards as the Olympics. The IPC signed the World Anti-Doping Code in March 2003 and has since then revised the IPC Anti-Doping Code to comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency's standards and code.

Could you provide me the history of the Paralympics with regards to the number of nations, athletes, etc?

You can find information about all of the past Paralympic Summer and Winter Games on the IPC Website.

Where can I find the most current competition rules and regulations?

You can find all of the rules for each of the Paralympic sports under the respective sport sections of the IPC website.

Why are the Paralympic Games not run in conjunction with the Olympic Games?

The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world. More than four thousand athletes participated at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Considering the staff, volunteers, accommodation, transportation and overall scheduling that would be need to host such an event, it would be nearly impossible for one city to host both the Olympic and Paralympic Games simultaneously. Under the agreement between the IOC and IPC, it was determined that the Paralympic Games will always take place following the Olympic Games in the same host city.

How do I subscribe to the IPC Newsletter?

If you want to receive the latest news of the Paralympic Movement, click here.

What does the IPC Symbol represent?

The Paralympic Symbol (three Agitos) consists of three elements in red, blue and green – the three colours that are most widely represented in national flags around the world.

The three Agitos (from the Latin meaning “I move”) encircling a central point symbolise motion, emphasise the role of the Paralympic Movement in bringing athletes together from all corners of the world to compete.

The symbol also reflects the Paralympic Motto, “Spirit in Motion,” representing the strong will of every Paralympian.

The Paralympic Symbol also emphasises the fact that Paralympic athletes are constantly inspiring and exciting the world with their performances: always moving forward and never giving up.

The current Paralympic symbol, launched at the Closing Ceremony of the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

How is the IPC funded?

As a non-profit organisation, the IPC relies on private and corporate donors, sponsors and membership fees. Anyone interested in contributing to the IPC and the Paralympic Movement should contact the IPC Management Team.

How are the Paralympic Games different from the Special Olympics?

The Paralympics and the Special Olympics are similar in that they both focus on sport for athletes with an impairment and are run by international non-profit organisations. Apart from that, the Paralympics and the Special Olympics differ in three main areas:

1) the impairment categories of the athletes that they work with

2) the criteria under which athletes participate

3) the structure of their respective organisations.

The Paralympics, as the largest sports competition for athletes with an impairment worldwide, involve athletes from several impairment categories. The six main disability categories are: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment, visually impaired, spinal injuries and Les Autres (French for "the others", a category that includes conditions that do not fall into the categories mentioned before). In contrast, the Special Olympics are solely for athletes with intellectual impairment.

To participate in the Paralympic Games, athletes have to fulfil certain criteria and meet certain qualifying standards in order to be eligible. These criteria and standards are sports-specific and are determined by the IPC Sports Chairpersons, the Sports Technical Delegates and the relevant international sports organisations.

The Paralympics are about elite performance sport, where athletes go through a stringent qualification process so that the best can compete at the Games.

On the other hand, the Special Olympics does not make as clear a distinction between elite and recreational sport as the Paralympics. No qualifying events are held and there is instead a system of random selection of participants for the Special Olympics. Thus, while the Paralympics emphasises high-level performance, the Special Olympics emphasises participation from those who can and will.

The Paralympics are run by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). As the international representative organisation of sport for athletes with a disability, the IPC comprises elected representatives from around the world. The General Assembly, its highest decision-making body, includes around 180 member nations, represented through their National Paralympic Committees, and five disability-specific organisations. The Special Olympics are run by Special Olympics International (SOI). SOI has established national foundations around the world, which are financed mainly through charity.