Disability and Paralympic Sport Philosophy

Authored by: Steve Edwards , Mike McNamee

Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Sport

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415829809
eBook ISBN: 9780203466261
Adobe ISBN: 9781134119141


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Relatively little attention has been given to what has variously been called sport for the disabled, sport for athletes with disabilities, sport for athletes with impairments or Paralympic sport, in contrast to the mainstream forms of sport for able-bodied persons. The heterogeneous nomenclature of the limited literature that exists betokens conceptual, ethical and political dimensions of debates for persons with disabilities. In this chapter, we focus on the development of these sport forms, with particular – although not exclusive – reference to Paralympic sports that comprise the quadrennial Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Games, organised by the International Paralympic Committee, are the analogue of the Olympic Games. Although their constitutive activities and the classifications of competing athletes within them are a matter of contestation and debate, they represent the most popular forms of sports for athletes with disabilities or impairments. Other forms and organizations are noted by way of context in the first section, before moving on to discuss issues of classification and identity, and the underlying conceptions of health, ability and disability itself.

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