The U.S. Paralympic National Performance Team is looking for new athletes with physical disabilities who are interested in training for and possibly competing in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens Greece. Any athlete, coach, administrator, parent or friend who knows of such a person is encouraged to contact a National Performance Team coach.
U.S. Paralympics is a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee that was created in May 2001 to focus efforts on enhancing programs, funding and opportunities for persons with physical disabilities to participate in Paralympic sport.
The mission of U.S. Paralympics is to be the world leader in the Paralympic movement and to promote excellence in the lives of persons with physical disabilities.
History of the Paralympic Games
The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world, conceding top honors only to the Olympics. The multi-sport competition showcases the talents and abilities of the world’s most elite athletes with physical disabilities. The Paralympics feature 22 sports, 19 or which are also contested in the Olympics.
The first Paralympics were held in 1960 in Rome, Italy. In 1988, Seoul, Korea, began the modern-day practice of the Olympic-host nation also hosting the Paralympic Games. Today more than 4,000 athletes from 120 countries participate in the Summer Paralympics, while more than 1,100 athletes from 36 countries compete in the Winter Parlympic Games.
Disability groups represented in the Paralympics include:
- Athletes with amputations
- Athletes who are blind or visually impaired
- Athletes with cerebal palsy
- Athletes with spinal cord injuries or who use wheelchairs, and
- Athletes who are affected by a range of other disabilities that do not fall into the aforementioned categories, such as multiple sclerosis or dwarfism.
Key Paralympic Facts
- More than 54 million people with disabilities live in the United States 143 million Americans are family members of persons with disabilities.
- 66 percent of Americans are disabled for more than 6 months in their lifetime.
- 75 percent of children with disabilities are not active in physical education.
- A 1996 Surgeon General’s report concluded that inactivity and poor diet contribute to nearly 300,000 deaths in the United States annually.
How Do I Get Started?
Contact the National Program Director for Track & Field Bryan Hoddle or contact the event area coach for the event in which you participate.
Visit www.usparalympics.org and review the "qualification standards" to determine eligibility for elite or emerging elite team support from U.S. Paralympics.
The National Performance Team coaching staff includes:
Program Director: Bryan Hoddle (Washington)
Assistant Program Director/ Endurance: Ron Johnson (Texas)
Sprints and Jumps Coach: Tony Veney (Oregon)
Throws and Weights Coach: Meg Stone (Colorado)
Wheelchair Coach: Craig Hempel (Illinois)
Recruitment & Junior Development: Terri Jordan-Lucas (Pennsylvania)
How Do I Make The Team?
Qualifying for the 2004 Paralympic Track and Field Team will be based on an athlete’s performance as it compares to performances of athletes with similar disabilities produced at major international competitions. Currently the performance staff is forming a pool of elite and emerging elite athlete who will be given the opportunity to attend special training camps, elite competitions throughout the United States and the world. They also will be provided with the opportunity to benefit from some of the best coaches in the United States.
What are you waiting for? Contact a coach today and lets us get you started on your "Road to Athens, 2004."
Link to Classifications: http://www.usparalympics.org/trackclass.htm
Link to Qualification Standards: http://www.usparalympics.org/qualificationstandards.htm