Sports are an important activity in ones life. There are different kinds of sports that people engage in. different people compete in these sports at local international and international levels. The most important international sports competition is the Olympics. The Olympics Games are held once after every four years. Olympics games are subdivided into three: Winter Olympics Game, Paralympics and Youth Olympics Games. Paralympic games are reserved for people with disabilities, since they cannot compete with physically fit people. Paralympic Games are held son after the completion of the Winter Olympics Games in the same venue. People with varied physical challenges meet to compete in different games that are specially designed for them. Deaflympics are part of the bigger Paralympic games. Deaflympics are specifically for the deaf. The games in which they compete in are specially designed for this class of people.
The history of deaflympics dates back in 1924 in Paris when the first deaflympics were held. Since then, the games have been held every four years, except during the Second World War when there was a break in the games. In 1949, Deaflympic Winter Games were added to the original Deaflympics. From 1924 to 1965, these games were referred to as International games for the deaf. Later, the name changed to International Silent Games, although the original name was concomitantly used. In the period between 1966 and 1999, Deaflympics were called the World Games for the Deaf. From 2001, however, the games officially acquired their current label: Deaflympics. The hearing threshold for the deaf must be met for all participants in the games. A person must have a hearing threshold of 55db in the more able ear. Any hearing aids like cochlear implants are not allowed for participant of Deaflympics (Ammons & Eickman 1149-1150). Breivik, Haualand and Solvang documented the events as they occurred in the 2001 Deaf World Games held in Rome. This was one of the most successful Deaflympics in history. Over 4000 deaf people drawn from more than 80 countries had congregated in Rome to participate in various games. According to some attendees, being in Rome for two weeks felt like a well spent time with family (Breivik, Haualand and Solvag 19). The most striking feature of these particular games was the high number of deaf tourists who flocked Rome. The main challenge of hoteliers in Rome was serving deaf tourists (Brevki, Haualand and Solvag 20).
Today, the international Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) is mandated by the International Olympic Committee to oversee all Deaflympics in the world. The ICDS organizes not only the Summer Deaflympics, but also the Winter Olympics Deaflympics. The committee is set to hold the first ever Youth Summer Deaflympics in 2018 (Deaflympics.com). The latest summer Deaflympics were held in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2013. According to the committees 2015 minutes of the annual Congress meetings, the ICSD continues to seek good working terms with the International Olympics Committee. Additionally, the member states who attended the Congress were urged to establish national deaf games to instill the culture of competition and active participation in deaf people (Deaflympics.com). Since many countries do not present participants for basketball, the member states were also urged to establish deaf basketball in their countries. Just like conventional Olympic Games, Deaflympians are strictly prohibited from doping in pursuit of a competitive advantage over their peers. Currently, the sports in which deaflympians compete in Summer Deaflympics are different from those in the Winter Olympics for the Deaf. Among the sports in the former are Athletics, Football, Judo, Karate, Volleyball, Tennis and Taekwondo. Snowboarding, ice skating, curling, ice hockey and alpine skiing are performed in the Winter Olympics for the deaf. The 23rd Summer Deaflympics will be held in Samsun, Turkey from 18th to 30th of July 2017 (Deaflympics.com).
Deaflympics are funded by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. The ICSD in turn gets its funds from the International Olympics Committee. Former president of the ICSD Jerald Jordan has a legacy fund that supports the Deaflympics. Due to his exemplary performance in the Committee, Jerald Jordan is regarded as the most iconic figure in the history of Deaflympics. A legacy fund established in his name contributes to the total amount required by the ICSD to organize both Winter and Summer Deaflympics. According to the minutes of the 45th ICSD annual conference held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, the ICSD is rallying sponsorship for the committee through advocacy and increased media coverage (Deaflympics.com). Another valuable source of funding for the ICSD is the annual membership fee paid by all member states. This money contributes to the biggest percentage of ICSD kitty. Deaflympians get support from their respective countries. However, there has been reluctance in support of these teams, with Great Britain playing a leading role in this reluctance. In 2013, Greece declined the ICSDs request to have the country host the 2013 World Deaf Olympics. The government of Greece said that it was not in a financial position to host the costly event, given its hard financial moments. All the funds collected for the Deaflympics are managed by the ICSD. The committee uses the money to undertake both its internal and external affairs. The internal affairs that the committee uses the money for includes remunerating top officials and organizing the annual Congress. The external affairs include preparing medals to be awarded to Deaflympic winners as well as running the Deaflympic Village.
Since inception, Deaflympics have undergone numerous logistical and technical changes. The organizers have incorporated innovative methods that ensure that deaflympians provide the most out of them during the activities they engage in. For example, flash lights have been incorporated in the field tracks to direct deaf athletes. The lights are computer programmed and act as traffic lights to guide athletes when to take their marks or when to kick off. Instead of bells and other audio signals, flashlights of different colors are used to send different messages to the athletes. Today, the Deaflympics have motivated parents with deaf children to encourage their children to participate in sports. According to Ogden, sports are an important part of deaf children since it makes them active and allows parents to discover talent in their children (Ogden 34). Additionally, Deaflympics have created awareness about the special needs of the deaf in an international platform, thus drawing both governmental and non-governmental support for World Deaf Games.
Ammons, Donalda, and Jordan Eickman. "Deaflympics and the Paralympics: eradicating misconceptions." Sport in Society 14.9 (2011): 1149-1164.
Breivik, Jan-Kare, Hilde Haualand, and Per Solvang. "Romea temporary deaf city! Deaflympics 2001." (2002).
Ogden, Paul W. Silent Garden: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Deaf Child. Gallaudet University Press, 2016.The International Committee of Sport for the Deaf. Deaflympics, 2016, http://www.deaflympics.com/. Accessed 29th October, 2016.
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