Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the BPA and the Paralympic Games.

If you are from a media organisation and are looking for specific information relating to footage or photography, please visit the media FAQs page here.

Section 1: About the Paralympic Games:

  • Why are the Paralympics called Paralympics?
  • The word "Paralympic" derives from the Greek preposition "para" ("beside" or "alongside") and the word "Olympics" because the Paralympics are the parallel Games to the Olympics. Contrary to popular opinion, the prefix para does not refer to paraplegia.
  • How did the Paralympics come about?
  • For information on the history of the Paralympic Games, visit our Games pages here.
  • Why are the Olympics and Paralympics held separately?/ Why isn’t there one Games?
  • The Olympic and Paralympic Games are two separate elite sport competitions run by the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee respectively. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the two biggest sporting events in the world and have seperate identities, which both organisations wish to retain. In addition, merging them into one Games is impractical, due to the numbers of athletes competing and the number of events included. Therefore it is far more straight-forward for the two events to be held separately.
  • Why are the Paralympics held after the Olympics, and not before?
  • This is a decision made by the IPC in conjunction with the IOC. We are happy that this is the case and enjoy being the finale to a great festival of sport.

Section 2: Impairment groups at the Paralympic Games:

  • How many impairment groups are there at the Paralympic Games?
  • There are six impairment groups eligible to compete at the Paralympic Games. They are:
  1. Athletes who have spinal injuries and impairments
  2. Athletes who have a visual impairment
  3. Athletes who have learning disability
  4. Athletes who are amputees
  5. Athletes who have cerebral palsy
  6. Athletes who are classified within the Les Autres category, for example athletes who have dwarfism
  • Why are athletes with Down’s syndrome, hearing impairments etc not currently included in the Paralympics?
  • The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is responsible for deciding which sports and impairment groups are represented in the Games so you would need to address these questions to them. There are other sporting events, such as the Special Olympics and Deaflympics that include these impairment groups.
  • How does the Paralympics differ from the Special Olympics or Deaflympics?
  • The Paralympics is unique in that it is an elite multi-sport competition open to athletes from a range of impairment groups. We remain supportive of all disabled sportsmen and women who achieve on the world stage.
  • Why are deaf athletes excluded?
  • ParalympicsGB is non-discriminatory and applauds all disabled sportsmen and women who achieve on the world stage. Deaf sportsmen and women have taken part in their own Games ever since the International Silent Games (now the Deaflympics) of 1924. As a result deaf sports are not members of the BPA and are not funded in the same way as other NGBs. Athletes with a hearing impairment do compete in the Paralympic Games when the hearing loss is one of their impairments but when they also have another impairment which is classifiable at the Paralympic Games.
  • Are athletes with learning disability included in the Paralympics?
  • Athletes with learning disability are now included in the Paralympic Games, following a vote at the IPC General Assembly in November 2009. They had previously been included at Sydney in 2000 and Atlanta in 1996. The IPC works in conjunction with INAS-FID (International Sports Federation for People with an Intellectual Disability) on the process which provided a robust classification system for the Paralympics for 2012 in London.

Section 3: Our key partners

  • What is your relationship to the BOA?
  • The British Paralympic Association and the British Olympic Association are two separate organisations. The two organisations moved under one roof in 2009, to our current address at 60 Charlotte St, London W1T 2NU. This makes sense from an operational perspective, as it means we can share knowledge, economies of scale and plans for the Games. We believe that the move has been beneficial to both organisations, but we remain independent of each other.
    You can contact the BOA by emailing boa@boa.org.uk
  • Were you responsible for organising the London 2012 Games?
  • No, LOCOG (the London Organising Committee for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games) was responsible for organising both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are responsible for ensuring the British team is fully prepared for the next Paralympic winter and summer Games and for taking the team to the Paralympics.
  • What are you doing to make London accessible?
  • At the BPA our remit is to prepare the British team for the Games, so we are not involved in the work that has been done and is being done around making London accessible. We would recommend discussing this subject with the Mayor of London's office about the work they are doing to make London more accessible.
    You might also like to look at this new website: www.inclusivelondon.com. There is now a downloadable app for inclusive London, which is available to download.
  • What was your relationship to LOCOG?
  • LOCOG is an acronym for the London Organising Committee for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the organising committee, LOCOG were responsible for the delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, including preparing the venues for competition, selling tickets to the public and promoting the Games themselves. We worked very closely with LOCOG to ensure that our athletes had the best possible experience of the Games in 2012.

Section 4: Requesting athlete appearances:

  • I would like a Paralympian to attend an event. How do I request this?
  • If you are a school, you can join Get Set for free via the website: http://www.getset.co.uk/. Through Get Set you can request athlete appearances. Alternatively if you have an enquiry for a particular athlete, you can contact the individual Paralympic sports. The contact details for each sport are on our website here.

Section 5: Jobs:

  • I would like to work for the BPA. How can I do this?
  • All jobs at the BPA are advertised on the jobs section of our website here. In addition, all vacancies at the BPA are posted on the UK Sport website: www.uksport.gov.uk.
  • Can I apply for work experience at the BPA?
  • The BPA does offer work experience placements. Anyone who wishes to request work experience can do so by emailing info@paralympics.org.uk. Please note that any work experience placement will be offered in line with our Work Experience Policy. If you are interested in working in sport, we recommend you visit the Jobs section of the UK Sport website: www.uksport.gov.uk.

Section 6: Posting Comments on the BPA website:

  • I would like to comment on items on the BPA website. Are there any guidelines I should follow?
  • The BPA would like to see lots of people engaging with the news and information that we post on our website. If you would like to participate in the conversation, however, please ensure you comply with the following House Rules. The BPA reserves the right to remove posts which do not comply with these Rules or which are considered irrelevant to the post.
  1. Do not post anything that is considered likely to provoke, attack or offend others
  2. Do not post anything that is or could be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable
  3. Do not post anything which contains swear words or other language likely to offend
  4. Do not post anything which would break the law or condone or encourage unlawful activity, or describe or encourage activities which could endanger the safety or well-being of others. Users should note that this includes breach of copyright, defamation and contempt of court.
  5. Do not post anything which advertises products or services for profit, including links to other websites
  6. Do not post anything which are seen to impersonate someone else
  7. Do not repeatedly post the same or similar messages ('spam')
  8. Do not post anything which includes contact details such as telephone numbers and postal or email addresses


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