Sport and Disability

3096 Words Oct 17th, 2010 13 Pages
Introduction

Sport is a significant part of this world; it acts as a social construction (DePauw & Gavron, 1995). It offers individuals a time to socialise and build a relationship with each other. Individuals with disabilities have always been present in society, although they experienced exclusion and not recognised as a “normal” person. In terms of sport, mentally retarded persons were thought to not understand the rules of the sport and therefore were left out. Physically disabled were thought of not having the ability to participate and therefore they were excluded from sport participation.

In earlier times, a disability was defined as a person with a physical impairment. In today’s world, the preferred terminology is using the
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Paralympics is governed by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) (Paralympics Games, 2010)

Organised sport for people with intellectual disabilities purpose is to provide year round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community (Special Olympics New Zealand, 2007). Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1962 by a summer day camp she created for adults and children with intellectual disabilities in Maryland, to explore their capabilities in a variety of sports and physical activity. In 1968 the first International Special Olympics were held in Soldier Field in Chicago, where over 1000 athletes competed in track and field and swimming events. By the year 1971 the United States Olympic Committee gave Special Olympics official approval as one of only two organizations authorized to use the name “Olympics” in the United States. In 1988, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed an agreement with Sargent and the founder of Special Olympics, where the IOC officially endorses and recognises Special Olympics. In the same year, bowling, softball and volleyball became the
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