Competition at the Paralympic Games is open to six disability groups, including athletes with amputations, visual impairments, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, intellectual disabilities and "les autres," which includes disabilities such as spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and more.
“When I was 13, I saw an athlete on TV with the same disability as mine, which made me realize that one day I could be a paralympic athlete too”
— Benoît Huot
Am I Ready to Compete at the Paralympic Games?
Training and challenging competition are two important ingredients that improve your athletic ability. There are several stages you will need to go through to develop into a high-performance athlete and achieve your Paralympic dreams. These stages are part of the Long-Term Athlete Development model. This model is used in all sports, and has been adapted for athletes with disabilities.
How do I Know That the Athletes I'm Competing Against Have the Same Abilities as I do?
Because of the vast number of disabilities that can emerge, parasport uses a process called classification in order to ensure a level playing field. Similar to a weight-class used in able-bodied boxing or wrestling, classification assesses a participant's functional ability relative to the sport they are playing. Learn more about classification.
- Beginner Stage: Experience different parasports and choose the parasport that fits you.
- Skill Development Stage: Work with quality coach to begin testing and refining your newfound sport skills in a competitive environment. The structure and level of competition will increase as you begin to compete at a regional and provincial level.
- High Performance Stage: At the height of your athletic career, you will work with high-level coaches and their support team and focus on achieving your peak performance at elite competitions as you advance to represent your country in national and international competitions.
How do I Qualify to go to the Paralympic Games?
Athletes who want to join the Canadian Paralympic Team need to start with their National Sport Organization. These organizations work in partnership with the CPC to set qualification criteria for their respective sports. This criteria determines which athletes are eligible to be nominated and selected to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games. The CPC is responsible for the logistics of sending Team Canada to the Paralympic Games.
Are There Other High Performance Opportunities for me to Compete in, Besides the Paralympic Games?
National Sport Organizations organize world championships and national championships with each of their specific sports. Contact your sport’s NSO >> (link to NSO page)
There are also the Parapan American Games; a high performance multi-sport event held every four years in the Americas region and featuring summer sports. Like the Paralympic Games, the Parapan American Games are organized by the Canadian Paralympic Committee in conjunction with our National Sport Organizations.