Countdown to Paralympic Games
The countdown to the Paralympic Games has begun. The Paralympics is a major event where physically disabled athletes compete. Broadly speaking the permitted categories are amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, visually impaired and Les Autres (literally "The Others", which are athletes with disabilities that do not fall into the other five categories; these include dwarfism, multiple sclerosis, and congenital deformities).
Since its commencement in 1948, there have been a few paralympians who have competed in the Olympic Games. It is run at the same time as the Olympic Games. Neroli Susan Fairhall of New Zealand was the first paraplegic competitor in the Olympic games who won gold in archery at the Commonwealth games in 1982. In addition, five female athletes with disabilities have competed in both at the same time. Interestingly, long before the Paralympics, George Eyser of America won three gold medals, two silver and a bronze in gymnastics despite his wooden leg.
Paralympic athletes have sought equal opportunities to compete at the Olympic Games. Presently Hungarian fencer Pál Szekeres remains the only athlete to have won medals at both the Olympic and Paralympic, having won a bronze medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics prior to a bus accident which rendered him disabled. He went on to win three gold and three bronze medals in wheelchair fencing at the Paralympics.