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Athletes with intellectual disabilities and the Paralympics.

After being banned from Paralympic competition due to a cheating scandal at the 2000 Paralympics games in Sydney, Australia, 120 athletes with intellectual disabilities competed in the 2012 Paralympics in three sports: swimming (class S14), athletics (class T/F T/F True/False
T/F Time Frequency
T/F Tie Fighter (Star Wars)
T/F Terrain Following
20), and table tennis (class T11). A new classification system was created and implemented to prevent cheating, and the targeted re-inclusion of athletes with intellectual disabilities into the games was deemed a success by the International Paralympic Committee The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is an international non-profit organisation of elite sports for athletes with disabilities. Founded on September 22, 1989, the mission of the organization is  (IPC (1) (InterProcess Communication) The exchange of data between one program and another either within the same computer or over a network. It implies a protocol that guarantees a response to a request. ) and the International Federation for Para-Athletes with an Intellectual Disability (INAS INAS Institut National d'Administration Sanitaire (National Institute of Health Administration, Morocco)
INAS Institutional Needs Analysis System
INAS Inertial Navigation & Attack System
INAS Instituto Nazionale Assistenza Sociale

History of Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities in the Paralympics

The International Sports Federation for Para-athletes with an Intellectual Disability (INAS-FID) was formed in the Netherlands in 1986 to organize and promote sports for athletes with intellectual disabilities. The INAS-FID was formed by a group of people who believed that the needs of athletes with intellectual disabilities, at least those athletes who were dedicated to intense training and elite performance goals, were not being adequately served within Special Olympics Special Olympics

International sports program for people with intellectual disability. It provides year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type summer and winter sports for participants.
 International (Matandrea & Czubernat, 2006). The general aims of INAS-FID are to enable access to international events and to promote the participation of all people who have an intellectual disability in sports and recreational activities (Depauw & Gavoron, 2005). At the time of its founding, the INAS-FID had 14 member nations and this number has steadily grown to nearly 60 nations.

The philosophy of the INAS-FID calls for the inclusion of athletes who have an intellectual disability in the sport of their choice at their individual levels of ability--from local recreational activities to international elite competitions. This philosophy is based on the principle of normalization In relational database management, a process that breaks down data into record groups for efficient processing. There are six stages. By the third stage (third normal form), data are identified only by the key field in their record. , which states that individuals who have an intellectual disability should be considered as members of society who are entitled to the same rights, opportunities, and duties as everyone else (INAS-FID, 2012).

The INAS-FID and Special Olympic International differ in one important aspect. The INAS-FID believes people with intellectual disabilities have the right to participate in the sport of their choice at their level of ability. However, INAS-FID is an elite sport provider, and medals are given to the top 3 finishing athletes in any given event--just as any other Paralympic (or Olympic discipline). In contrast, the Special Olympics believe in the power of sports to help all participants by helping individuals fulfill their potential. They do not believe in excluding any athlete based upon qualifying scores, but would rather divide the athletes based on their scores to ensure fair competition among people with similar abilities. Multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals area awarded at Special Olympics events, whereas only one gold, silver and bronze is provided in INAS-FID events. For athletes in the Special Olympics, excellence is equal to personal achievement with the goal of reaching one's maximum potential, which is a goal to which everyone can aspire (

Athletes with intellectual disabilities appeared in the Paralympics for the first time during the 1992 Winter Games
This article refers to the Epyx video game series. You may be looking for the Winter Olympic Games
Winter Games is a sports video game developed by Epyx (and released in Europe by U.S. Gold), based on sports featured in the Winter Olympic Games.
 in Tingnes-Albertville, France. In the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona, Spain, the INAS-FID obtained approval to hold a separate Paralympic Games Par·a·lym·pic Games  
An international competition for athletes with disabilities.

[para-1 + (O)lympic.
 for athletes with intellectual disabilities. At those games, 2,500 athletes from 73 countries participated in a variety of athletics, including basketball, soccer, swimming, and table tennis. In 1994, the INAS-FID athletes once again held demonstration events at the Lillehammer Winter Paralympics, including competing in a 5K Nordic ski race. But only at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games were INAS-FID athletes awarded full medal status for their events: long jump, 200-meter run, and the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle in swimming.


Sydney Paralympics Scandal

For many, it was viewed as the greatest "cheating" scandal in the Paralympic Games' history. The gold medals awarded to 10 members of a Spanish Paralympic basketball team at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney were revoked in late 2000 after it was revealed that none of the athletes had intellectual disabilities. The scandal was exposed by Carlos Ribagorda, a Spanish journalist who had infiltrated the team two years prior to the Games. He went undercover and occasionally trained with the team. At that time, he learned that his eligibility to play in the intellectually disabled category was never verified. The only test he was ever asked to take was doing push-ups during the first training session followed by a measurement of his blood pressure.

Ribagorda later learned that at the 2000 Games the coach asked his players to slow their scoring because they were playing too well. When journalists became suspicious, the players were encouraged to grow beards and wear bobble bob·ble  
v. bob·bled, bob·bling, bob·bles

To bob up and down.
To lose one's grip on (a ball, for example) momentarily.

A mistake or blunder.
 hats so as not to be too recognizable. Ribagorda accused Spain of selecting 15 athletes with no intellectual disabilities to boost the medal total. Gigandes, a Spanish basketball magazine, then learned that several members of the basketball team came from mainstream amateur clubs, and at least one had been employed by a professional club.


Based on this evidence, the International Paralympic Committee stripped these Spanish athletes of their medals and suspended the participation of athletes with intellectual disabilities from future Paralympic games until a more rigorous and objective criteria could be developed.

New Criteria for the Selection of Athletes with ID

The INAS and IPC have created a multi-part test to determine if an athlete meets the eligibility criteria as having an intellectual disability.

Part 1--Having an Intellectual Disability

First, each competitor must fit the primary eligibility criteria based upon The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disability's (AAIDD) definition of an intellectual disability: "Intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitation both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior Adaptive behavior is a type of behavior that is used to adapt to another type of behavior or situation. This is often characterized by a kind of behavior that allows an individual to substitute an unconstructive or disruptive behavior to something more constructive.  as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before the age of 18 (AAIDD, 2010)."

Significant impairment in intellectual functioning is defined as an IQ below 75 Impairment in adaptive functioning adaptive functioning,
n the relative ability of a person to effectively interact with society on all levels and care for one's self; affected by one's willingness to practice skills and pursue opportunities for improvement on all levels.
; for example, a social, domestic, and communication skill level two standard deviations below the mean, that is, a full scale score of 75 or lower. The athletes must also have significant limitations in adaptive behavior as expressed in their conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This is defined as performance that is at least two standard deviations below the mean on a standardized measure of one or more of the following three types of adaptive behaviors: conceptual, social, or practical skills. All the evidence of primary eligibility criteria must be assessed and verified by two or three psychologists from an eligibility committee assembled by the INAS-FID (INAS-FID, 2001).

Part 2--Sport-Specific Criteria

When the athletes fit the criteria, they must undergo sport classification to verify the effect of their intellectual impairment on the performance of their specific sport. This consists of two or three components based on the given sport. The first two components are the Sport cognitive test Cognitive tests are assessments of the cognitive capabilities of humans and animals. Tests administered to humans include various forms of IQ tests; those administered to animals include the mirror test (a test of self-awareness) and the T maze test (which tests learning ability).  battery and the competition observation. The third component is a sport-specific test, which is only given to those athletes who compete in athletics or table tennis.

Regardless of the sport, all athletes take the sport cognitive test battery, a computer-based test used to assess the athletes on their sports intelligence, which includes reaction time, memory, concentration, and spatial perception. A psychologist will usually attend and observe the athlete. Athletes are then assessed on factors specifically related to their sport. For example, athletes who compete in the 5,000 meters will be asked to take a pacing test. Pacing, which means an ability to moderate speed in order to avoid flagging before the end of a race, is a challenging component for athletes with an intellectual disability. Athletes who demonstrate a certain level of pacing would not be qualified. For table tennis, athletes will get several chances to return a ball served from a table tennis robot to a target. Swimmers will be videotaped to analyze their strokes (INAS-FID, 2001).

Future of Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities in the Paralympics

Verona Elder, team manager of the Great Britain Great Britain, officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 60,441,000), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain.  Paralympic team, understands that some in the general public may still find it difficult to accept an athlete with ID into the Paralympics. "'It's not obvious to the public when people with a learning disability are competing, what their disability is," she says. "You can see a physical disability, but you can't see a learning disability so I think it will take the public a while to understand that there is a learning disability, a physical disability and that they're all part of a main umbrella of people with a disability" (Jinkinson & Hammond, 2012).

Nevertheless, the re-inclusion of a limited number of athletes with IDs into the Paralympics was a success. The new classification system appeared to provide a systematic and standardized format for identifying qualified athletes with IDs. The two-tiered system two-tiered system Social medicine The existence of 2 levels of health benefits and care, depending on whether the Pt can afford to pay or not  was effective with individual countries adhering to the new classification standards, and the INAS-FID, in conjunction with the IPC, providing further verification of athletes' qualifications. Athletes with IDs who did participate in the games represented themselves and their countries honorably, and it is anticipated that INAS-FID will ask the Paralympics to expand sport opportunities for athletes with ID in the 2014 winter games in Russia and the 2016 summer games This article is about the Epyx video game series. For the international multi-sport event, see Summer Olympic Games.
Summer Games is a sports video game developed by Epyx and released by U.S. Gold based on sports featured in the Summer Olympic Games.
 in Brazil. For example, sports researchers are designing sport-specific tests for basketball that will determine an athlete's ability to comprehend tactics, shoot accurately, and dribble well (Van Gilder Cooke, 2012).



AAIDD. (2011). Intellectual Disability: Definition. Classification, and Systems of Supports (11th Edition) (2011). Washington, DC: Author.

INAS (2011). Athlete Registration and Primary Eligibility Application Guidance Notes, (2011), Birmingham, UK: Author.

Depauw, K. & Gavron, S. (2005), Disability Sports (2nd edition). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

INAS (2012). Introduction to Eligibility and Classification (2012), INAS & the British Psychological Society The British Psychological Society (BPS) is the representative body for psychologists and psychology in the United Kingdom. The BPS is a charity and, along with advantages, this also imposes certain constraints on what the society can and cannot do. . Power point presentation. Birmingham, UK: Author.

Jinkinson, B., & Hammond, C. (2012). How the Paralympics checks intellectual disability. BBC World Service
For the BBC television network, see BBC World.

The BBC World Service is one of the most widely recognised international broadcasters, transmitting in 33 languages to many parts of the world through multiple technologies.
, retrieved August 29, 2012, from BBC
 in full British Broadcasting Corp.

Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927.

Matandrea, L & Czubernat, D. (2006), Sports and physically challenged. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Special Olympics, Inc. (2012). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from Questions.aspx

The Sports Classification Cognitive Test. (2012). INAS, Retrieved August 29, 2012, from

van Gilder Cooke, S. (August 29, 2012). How the Paralympics is welcoming back intellectually impaired athletes 12 years after cheating scandal. Time Magazine. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from

Eunhye Kwon is a doctoral student in Kinesiology with an emphasis in adapted physical education Adapted physical education is a sub-discipline of physical education. It is an individualized program created for students who require a specially designed program for more than 30 days.  at the University of Virginia. She received her first Masters in APE from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, and she received a second Masters in APE from the University of Virginia. Martin E. Block is a Professor in Kinesiology with an emphasis in adapted physical education at the University of Virginia. He was a consultant for Special Olympics from 1988-2000 guiding the creation of the Motor Activities Training Program. He also is the Editor of Palaestra
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Author:Kwon, Eunhye; Block, Martin E.
Date:Jun 22, 2012
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