As the Olympic season draws nearer many people brag about me and how I'm working my way up to the Paralympics in 2018. From that saying, many people picture me in the Special Olympics. No. There are many differences between the two and I'm going to teach them to you.
First off, the athletes. It the Special Olympics you need to be at least 8 years old with a an intellectual disability, such as severe autism, down syndrome or any cognitive delay. The Paralympians have physical disabilities; dwarfism, amputations, paralysis, etc.
Second is qualifying. Anyone with a mental disability can join the Special Olympics. They don't turn away anyone since it is all about personal achievement. Everybody's a winner. In the Paralympics you need to qualify, just like the regular Olympians. And qualifying is tough, let me tell you. The people who were born with their disabilities (looking at you Mel Schwartz) have an advantage in that they can be training since birth, where as people like me and Anthony Redetic didn't qualify until later in life.
Third, and the last thing for this post, is the venue. The next World Special Olympics will be held in 2015 in Las Angeles. In 2011 they were held in Greece and in 1993 they were held in Austria (these are just samplings of when and where they were held and in no way a complete list). Since 1988 in Seoul, Korea the Paralympics have been held in the same facility, using the same courses directly after the main Olympics. This year they are held in Sochi, Russia March 7th till the 16th. Next Summer Paralympics will be held in Rio, Brazil.
This is all for this post. Come back as I inform you more about the Paralympics and my road to Korea!