Olympics and Paralympics Sports Comparison

There are many sports that are on both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games program, with some differences which are highlighted below. Of the 33 current sports at the Summer Olympics, there are 21 which have their equivalent on the Paralympic program.

 

Olympic Games Sport Paralympic Games
Athletics There are most of the same track and field events for both men and women, of all impairment groups.
Archery Para-Archery is open to athletes who have a physical impairment. There are currently three different classifications. It is an individual and a team sport, which involves both standing and wheelchair events, open to both men and women. Dartchery, a combination of darts and archery, is no longer held.
Badminton Para-Badminton will make its Paralympic debut in Tokyo 2020. It is a sport for both male and female athletes, in a range of different impairment classifications. These include; wheelchair 1&2, standing lower 3&4, standing upper and standing stature. 
Basketball Wheelchair Basketball has been at the 0aralympic since the start. There was also Basketball ID for athletes with an intellectual disability, though this was controversially removed form the program.
Canoeing Paracanoe was recently introduced to the Paralympics in 2016. There are events for male and females, the 200m kayak race in a range of impairment classes. 
Cycling Cycling at the Paralympics includes both a track and road events, for men and women athletes with physical and visual impairments.
Equestrian Equestrian athletes of any physical or visual impairments can compete, and there are both men's and women's events. All of the events are mixed, with each athlete grouped according to their ability. Athletes with visual impairments can utilize 'callers' to aid them around the arena.
Fencing Wheelchair Fencing has been on the program from the start. Both male and female athletes, with spine injuries, lower limb amputations or cerebral palsy are eligible to compete.
Judo For Judo athletes with visual impairments, and has a number of different weight categories
Rowing Rowing - for athletes of all impairment groups. There are four events, each over a distance of 1000m, as opposed to the 2000m in the Olympic Games.
Rugby 7s Wheelchair Rugby is played on a regular size basketball court, by a mixed team of men and women in wheelchairs.
Sailing There is a long history of Sailing at the Paralympics. There were events for athletes in 4 different classes; stability, hand function, mobility and vision. Since Tokyo, it is no longer held
Shooting Shooting for athlete with a physical impairment though not a visual impairment can partake in the events. The events in 0aralympic Shooting are the same as the events in the Olympic program.
Soccer Football 5-a-Side (blind football) for players with a visual impairment, who must wear blindfolds to ensure a level playing field for all athletes. Previously there was also a Football 7-a-Side tournament for players with cerebral palsy.
Swimming Swimming events are held in a 50m pool, up to 400m distance. Swimmers are classified with regards to their functional ability on each stroke, and can compete in freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and medley events.
Table Tennis Table tennis for athletes with physical and intellectual impairments can compete
Taekwondo Para-Taekwondo is a new sport for Tokyo 2020. It is is open for male and female athletes with a physical impairment to compete in a Kyorugi event.
Tennis Wheelchair Tennis, for athletes with either complete or substantial loss of function in one or both of their legs. There are events for males and females, singles and doubles.
Triathlon Paratriathlon is a relatively new addition to the Paralympic program. It is open to athletes with physical and visual impairment. The athletes complete in three events in succession: 750m of swimming, 20km of cycling and 5km of running. For the cycling part of the race, athletes may use a bicycle, tandem bicycle or handcycle. In the final 5km run, athletes may use a wheelchair if necessary.
Wrestling Wrestling events were held in 1980 and 1984
Weightlifting Weightlifting was on the program, though in 1992 it was replaced by Powerlifting, though there is only a bench press event.
Volleyball Sitting Volleyball is for athletes with a physical impairment. The sport is similar to standing volleyball, though the athletes are sitting, the court is smaller and the net lower.

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Paralympics Extra

The 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing are not far away, the next Summer Paralympics will be in Paris 2024. Also, check out the list of Paralympic sports, and top medal winners.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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