Many times, people with disabilities lose the chance to shine in the sports they love. The deaflympics give deaf people around the world a chance to experience playing elite sports.
The deaflympics are an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event. However, since the athletes competing in the events lost the ability to hear, they can’t be guided with the normal sounds (bullhorn, guns, whistle).
The first Deaflympic event was held in Paris, France back in 1924. They named it the 1924 Summer Deaflympics and have continued the tradition every four years.
In order to qualify for the games, athletes are required to have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their strongest ear. Even more interesting, they do not allow athletes to use hearing aids or cochlear implants. That keeps the games fair and at the same level.
Since the athletes can’t hear, other ways to guide the athletes are by using a light instead of the traditional starter pistol. In addition, spectators and fans are told to not clap or cheer. Instead, they are instructed to wave with both of their hands to show their support.
All in all, the Deaflympics are an event to give deaf people all around the world some recognition and attention. It gives them the feeling of competition, yet belonging.
The next Deaflympics
- 2021: 24th Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil.
- 2023: Winter Deaflympics
- 2025: 25th Summer Deaflympics