Parasport and Paralympics: A Brief History

The Olympics are the most celebrated sporting event in the world, but today, we at REC are celebrating the paralympics! These athletes work extra hard to overcome the many obstacles that a professional athlete, and then some.

The Paralympic Games include athletes with a wide range of disabilities, including ones that impair muscle function, (e.g., paraplegia and quadriplegia,) impaired range of movement or limb deficiency, (e.g., amputation or dysmelia,) vision impariment, intellectual impairment, and more. The Winter and Summer paralympics have been going on since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and are held every year following the Olympic games, officially chaired by the International Paralympic Committee.

 

Today’s spotlight is going to be famed summer olympian; wheelchair tennis champion Esther Vergeer. Coined the “Roger Federer” of women’s wheelchair tennis, Vergeer is a champ who has won 700 matces throughout her career, and lost only 25. She is nothing short of a super woman; but she has come a long way to get to where she is now.

 

Esther was born a healthy baby and was healthy until diagnosed with a vascular myelopathy near her spinal cord; an abnormality that caused her to suffer strokes at age 9. She ended up paralyzed following a 9 hour operation, but learned to play many sports during her time in rehabilitation.

 

Her hardships did not stop her, as she continued to rip through her tennis career and earn 4 Paralympic Gold medals, 21 Grand Slam Titles, and 14 NEC Wheelchair tennis masters. She remained undefeated for 10 years until her retirement in 2013. That’s 470 matches in a row!


Incredible, right? Unfortunately we can’t all be the powerhouse that Esther Vergeer is, but on October 19th, we can experience what it is like to play a parasport. Accessibility and inclusivity are large pillars of what we believe in at REC, SO REGISTER BY OCTOBER 16TH TO COMPETE IN OUR PARASPORT GAMES!