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Managing Paralympic Bodies: The Technology of Classification and Its Impact on (Dis)abled Athletes

Abstract

In this chapter, we explore the significance given to the management of (dis)abled bodies within the field of Paralympic Sport. At the outset it is important to state that we use the prefix “(dis)” connected to the words “abled” and “ability” to make it clear the that we celebrate that the practice of high-performance sport is about embodied physical capital, and, while the public and policy maker alike often fail to see the sport because of the disability (see DePauw 1997), we see the pursuit of physical betterment as a product of ability. It is our aim to undertake a critical examination of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) management of (dis)abled bodies. We are particularly interested in the IPC’s classification process that impacts upon the athletes and shapes their participation within the Paralympics. The Paralympic classification process has three stages:

  1. 1.

    Does the athlete have an eligible impairment for this sport?

  2. 2.

    Does the athlete’s eligible impairment meet the minimum disability criteria of the sport?

  3. 3.

    Which sport class describes the athlete’s activity limitation most accurately?

Keywords

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Classification Process
  • Practice Community
  • Primary Agent
  • International Olympic Committee

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    https://www.paralympic.org/classification – Accessed 15 May 16.

  2. 2.

    www.paralympic.org

  3. 3.

    https://www.paralympic.org/classification – Accessed 15 May 16.

  4. 4.

    https://www.paralympic.org/sports – Accessed 25 May 16.

  5. 5.

    The integrated functional classification system was first adopted at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.

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Howe, P.D., Kitchin, P.J. (2017). Managing Paralympic Bodies: The Technology of Classification and Its Impact on (Dis)abled Athletes. In: Darcy, S., Frawley, S., Adair, D. (eds) Managing the Paralympics. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-43522-4_5

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