Sport & Disability: a powerful relationship beyond barriers

The power of sport as a transformative tool is particular important for people with disabilities: it has the ability to transcend linguistic, cultural and social barriers through strategies of inclusion and adaptation. Its physical, social and economic development benefits make it an ideal tool for fostering the well-being of these people.

People with disabilities often face societal barriers. Disability evokes negative perceptions and discrimination in many societies. Sport changes people with disability in an equally profound way by empowering them to realize their full potential and advocate for changes in society.

Sport teaches that disability should not be seen as a limit. This vision has become increasingly global and has led to the creation of important projects and organizations to allow every athlete, even with disabilities, to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.

A fundamental role is played by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) which is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement, founded on 22nd September 1989. Its purpose is to organise the summer and winter Paralympic Games and act as the International Federation for ten sports, supervising and coordinating World Championships and other competitions. It aims to develop sports opportunities for all people with an impairment from the beginner to elite level.

Paralympic values are based on four principles that can be divided into:

  • Courage: Para athletes through their performances showcase to the world what can be achieved when testing your body to its absolute limits.
  • Determination: Para athletes have a unique strength of character that combines mental toughness, physical ability and outstanding agility to produce sporting performances that regularly redefine the boundaries of possibility.
  • Inspiration: as role models, Para athletes maximise their abilities, thus empowering and exciting others to participate in sport.
  • Equality: through sport Para athletes challenge stereotypes and transform attitudes, helping to increase inclusion by breaking down social barriers and discrimination towards people with an impairment.

Sport becomes a source of inspiration through the stories of athletes who have shown that there is no limit that can not be overcome. Among these, we remember Beatrice Vio – of whom we spoke on “Sport MyWay” – for her incredible determination and force. She is a champion wheelchair fencer that the Italian Paralympics Committee awarded her the distinction of “Italian Paralympic Athlete of the Year” in 2014.