WHAT IS PARALYMPIAN SEARCH?  

The traditional Paralympian search is a one-day athlete discovery event designed to challenge participants in different agility and skill-testing tasks so that they can learn about Paralympic sports and get connected to sport opportunities.  

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THE 2021 PARALYMPIAN SEARCH?  

Two main things are different this year: 

  1. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event is going fully virtual! It will be held on the Zoom platform and supported behind-the-scenes by technology experts to ensure a smooth experience is had by all! There will be live sessions, breakout rooms, workshops and pre-recorded content to keep things interesting.   

  1. This year’s event, CONNECTION 2021, is also specifically geared towards women and girls with disabilities and will focus less on sport ability and more on building a community and engaging participants in learning about Para Sport. Just like in the in-person events, participants will get to meet Paralympic athletes and alumni from various sports along with sport science and physical activity experts who will be sharing their experiences and answering questions.  

WHY IS THIS EVENT ONLY FOR WOMEN? 

First of all, because you told us so! At previous events, some women have told us that they were not always sure if this event was the right fit for them. So, we have created a for-women, by-women event where you can connect and share your sport experiences and aspirations while you learn about Para sport opportunities. 

Also, research tells us that women participate in sport at consistently lower rates than men do, and fewer women go on to become competitive athletes. Sport at all levels provides many physical, mental, and social benefits so we hope you’ll join us and start being part of the change to get more women active! 

WHY CAN ONLY 25 PEOPLE PARTICIPATE?  

Even though the event will be virtual, it will be very focused on building relationships and making connections which is best done in smaller groups. It’s also our first time trying a virtual event – so we are starting small and hoping to grow! 

WHO CAN ATTEND THE EVENT?  

CONNECTION 2021 is open to women ages 16 and older that have a disability, with or without previous sport experience who are excited to get involved in Para sport.  We are also welcoming current or former athletes from all levels aiming to explore Paralympic sport or discover a new sport that can complement their main discipline. Participants must be based in Canada. 

HOW LONG IS THE EVENT?  

CONNECTION 2021 will be held over two half-days on Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6.  Each day will start at 12:30PM EDT and will end at 5PM EDT.  Selected participants are invited to attend all sessions although we understand that sometimes life can call you away.  

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY AT THE VIRTUAL EVENT?  

We have been working with diversity and inclusion experts, including women with disabilities as part of the project team, to ensure accessibility is not a barrier to participation. You will be asked to indicate your accessibility accommodation needs and preferences on the Expression of Interest form.   

We have lined up the following and will accommodate other needs as best possible:  

  • Zoom platform allows for internet or phone dial-in for audio. 

  • We will open the session early to provide participants time to test their set up and get comfortable before the official start time.  

  • If on screen text is needed, clear fonts and strong colour contrast will be used.  

  • ASL + LSQ sign language interpreters throughout.  

  • Closed captioning services.  

  • Accessible documents / presentations / workbooks (variety of formats – for example: electronic, Word, PDF).  

  • A detailed agenda will be provided ahead of time so participants can prepare.  

The team behind the event is doing their best to learn about how to offer a safe and inclusive environment – and if you have suggestions to help us, please connect! 

DO I NEED TO ALREADY BE AN ATHLETE TO COME TO THE EVENT?  

No, you can attend the event if you are not already an athlete. If you are, we hope you will also find out about sport options that might be of interest to you.  

CAN I BRING MY PARENTS, SPOUSE OR A FRIEND? 

Yes! Especially since we are going virtual, you are welcome to have someone from your support network participate alongside with you.  

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE EVENT?  

We encourage you to stay connected with your fellow participants! We will share additional resources from some of the speakers and workshop facilitators as well as contacts so that you can stay connected to Para sport.  

DOES THE EVENT HAVE ANY OTHER PURPOSE?  

The main goal of CONNECTION 2021 is to provide women a safe, inclusive space to connect, learn, and ignite their passion for Para sport. We’re also aiming to give you the tools you need to get started on a Para sport journey or take your sport performance to the next level. 

Additionally, since this is a pilot program, we hope to learn just as much from you. We want to understand your sport experiences, goals, motivations as well as obstacles and challenges so we can create solutions together to get more women with disabilities involved in positive sport experiences. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE’S NO ROOM FOR ME TO PARTICIPATE?  

We definitely want you at CONNECTION 2021 and hope we can fit everyone in!  For those we can’t fit in on June 5 and 6, we will still connect with you to share resources and information and answer any questions about getting involved in sport.  

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW? 

The traditional, in-person Paralympian Search will resume once it is safe to do so. 

WHAT IF I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?  

If you still have questions, please reach out to innovation@paralympic.ca