The Deaflympics (which previously were called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) is an international sport event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level. Unlike the athletes in the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Special Olympics, the Deaflympians cannot be guided by sounds (e.g., the starter's guns, bullhorn commands or referee whistles). To qualify for the games, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their "better ear". Hearing aids, cochlear implants and the like are not allowed to be used in competition, to place all athletes on the same level. Other examples of ways the games vary from hearing competitions are the manner in which they are officiated. To address the issue of Deaflympians not being able to be guided by sounds, certain sports use alternative methods of commencing the game. For example, the football referees wave a flag instead of blowing a whistle; on the track, races are started by using a light, instead of a starter pistol. It is also customary for spectators not to cheer or clap, but rather to wave – usually with both hands.
The Deaflympics are held every four years, and are the longest running multi-sport event excluding the Olympics themselves. The first games, held in Paris in 1924, were also the first ever international sporting event for athletes with a disability. The event has been held every four years since, apart from a break for World War II, and an additional event, the Deaflympic Winter Games, was added in 1949. The games began as a small gathering of 148 athletes from nine European nations competing in the International Silent Games in Paris, France, in 1924. By now, they have grown into a global movement. Officially, the games were originally called the "International Games for the Deaf" from 1924 to 1965, but were sometimes also referred to as the "International Silent Games". From 1966 to 1999 they were called the "World Games for the Deaf", and occasionally referred to as the "World Silent Games". From 2001, the games have been known by their current name Deaflympics (often mistakenly called the Deaf Olympics).
Host nations and cities
The Summer Deaflympic Games have been hosted by 21 cities in 17 countries, but by cities outside Europe on only six occasions in Washington, D.C. 1965 (USA), Los Angeles 1985(USA), Christchurch 1989 (New Zealand), Melbourne 2005 (Australia), Taipei 2009 (Taiwan) and Samsun 2017 (Turkey). Athletes compete in 20 summer sport disciplines.
The Winter Deaflympic Games have been hosted by 16 cities in 11 countries. The last winter games were held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russian Federation in 2015. Athletes compete in 6 winter sport disciplines. The next Winter Deaflympic Games will be hosted in Valchiavenna, Italy from 12-21 December, 2019.
I am inviting you to explore more about the ways how sport unites and stands for integration, inclusion and empowerment. Let's not only be focused on our own worlds. Today our attention is more focused on politicss, conflicts, things that separate. Let's research more things, events, tools and platforms which open up and find more similarities between people than differences, showing that we are all equal regardless of nationality, age, gender, ability and disability.