The very first Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy in 1960, featuring 400 athletes from 23 different countries. The Games have come a long way since their inception and continue to grow each year. They include athletes with various disabilities, including physical impairments and visual and cognitive conditions. Each sport has its own set of “classifications” based on disabilities to ensure a level playing field among athletes. Similar to weight classes in sports like boxing or wrestling, classifications determine who competes against who.
With more than 1,200 hours of coverage scheduled for this year’s Games, the Paralympics will be easier than ever to view and celebrate! Here are some of our favorite ways to do so around Colorado Springs and beyond!
Visit the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum.
Named the best new attraction in 2020 by USA Today, the USOPM is one of the most accessible museums in the country! It highlights the history and storylines between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the athletes and their stories always at the forefront.
Try your hand at various Olympic and Paralympic sports, including Archery, Skeleton and Goalball. With your ticket you’ll receive a pass with RFID technology included – allowing you to personalize your museum experience based on your home state, accessibility needs and favorite sports!
Many of the staff are Paralympians themselves, offering visitors an inside look into the life of the athletes.
Head to the museum on Saturday, August 28 for a meet and greet with Trischa Zorn Hudson - the most decorated athlete in Olympic and Paralympic history. Zorn Hudson will spend the afternoon and evening holding a meet and greet and later return for a special ticketed event. Find out more information and get your tickets here.
The museum will also be hosting a Paralympic Day at the Museum on Saturday, September 4. This will include sport demos, meet and greets with athletes and more!
Get tickets to Paralympic Night with the Rocky Mountain Vibes on 8/27
On Friday, August 27th, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee is hosting a ‘Paralympic Night’ with the Rocky Mountain Vibes. Grab your friends and family and head down to UCHealth Park, where the Vibes will face off against the Grand Junction Rockies. The first pitch is at 6:30pm, and will be thrown out by Justin Widhalm, a Para Cyclist from Colorado! Make sure you stick around after the game for a Friday Night fireworks display.
Host a watch party!
Want to watch the drama and action of the Paralympics with your family and friends? Host a watch party! Head to your favorite local restaurant or order some takeout and enjoy the games from the comfort of your own home.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to start at 8pm Tokyo time on Tuesday, August 24th, which translates to 7am ET / 5am MT. Not feeling up to an early wake-up call? NBC will replay the ceremony in primetime, starting at 7:30 ET/ 5:30pm MT.
The games will stretch from the 24th to Sunday, September 5th. As always, NBC and Peacock are the hub for Paralympic coverage. Find a more detailed broadcast schedule here.
Learn more about a Paralympic sport with family or friends.
Sure, we’ve all seen Track & Field and Swimming, but did you know there are sports in the Paralympics that don’t have an Olympic equivalent? Take Goalball for example – it’s a team sport designed specifically for athletes with a vision impairment. The playing field is leveled by requiring all athletes to cover their eyes entirely, and try and defend their goal using their other senses. Head to TeamUSA.org to find the perfect Paralympic sport for you. Take a dive into the use of adaptive equipment, training methods and sport rules – you’ll be amazed at what you find!
Looking for other ways to support Team USA athletes from home? Visit the Team USA Fund’s website to learn how.