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PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA 27 JUNE 2011. 2 PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA Joe Walsh Managing Director, Paralympics United States Olympic Committee Colorado.

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Presentation on theme: "PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA 27 JUNE 2011. 2 PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA Joe Walsh Managing Director, Paralympics United States Olympic Committee Colorado."— Presentation transcript:

1 PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA 27 JUNE 2011

2 2 PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA Joe Walsh Managing Director, Paralympics United States Olympic Committee Colorado Springs, Colorado USA

3 3 PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA Benefits of sports Importance of these benefits for persons with disabilities Governance and responsibilities National direction – responsive to readiness –Story #1: Katie Maneen Local programs – responsive to environment –Story #2: Christina Kouros Multi-faceted, flexible approach

4 4 BENEFITS OF SPORTS Sport enhances childrens psychological well being through friendships, creativity, identity, and purpose in life. Regular physical activity fosters independence, coping abilities, competitiveness, and teamwork. Through sports children are empowered with I can rather than discouraged by you cant. –Murphy. Pediatrics. 121;

5 5 IMPORTANCE OF THESE BENEFITS Girls with disabilities in organized sport have goals including college, the Paralympics and varsity athletics. Girls in organized disability sport have role models. Sports = choice where therapy = mandate –Anderson, et al. Journal of Leisure Research. Vol. 40, No. 2, % of students with a disability (10-18 yrs) participated in school sports vs. 45% overall. 47% of students with a disability participated in weekend/club sports vs. 74% overall. –Bailey. Educational Review, Vol. 57, No. 1, February 2005.

6 6 GOVERNANCE DIRECTION In 1998, the U.S. Congress amended the U.S. Olympic Committee charter to give USOC jurisdiction over and responsibility for Paralympic sport in the USA. The amendments emphasized inclusion of athletes with disabilities in mainstream competition where feasible. Various scholars have argued that visibility of successful athletes with disabilities in mainstream competition could transform negative stereotypes about disability and persons with disabilities. –Lord, et al. College of William and Mary Law School Faculty Publications. Paper 108 (2009).

7 7 NATIONAL DIRECTION USOC is responsive to many factors in managing national programs in Paralympic sports. Story #1 – Katie Maneen –Katie uses a leg prosthetic –Runs on her college track team –Last week ran for first time against other amputees at U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championship

8 8 LOCAL PROGRAMS USOC encourages and supports community based sports for persons with disabilities through Paralympic Sport Clubs and through member organizations such as: –Disabled Sports USA –National Recreation and Parks Association Story #2 – Christina Kouros –Christina races cross country skiing in a sit ski –Christina skis on her high school team and now the rules for her State allow student-athletes to use sit skis.

9 9 PARALYMPIC SPORTS IN THE USA Benefit the individuals and society Physical benefits are easiest to attain Social benefits come from disability sport and inclusion USOC centralized leadership of Paralympic sport in 2001 USOC promotes a multi-faceted, flexible approach Sometimes it is the high school athlete, not the USOC that changes the system.


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