Posted: March 18th, 2023

Disability sport and recreation resources 8 pages

United States Deaf Olympics

Deaf Olympics

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While sport is vital in anyone’s life, it may be even of great significance to the individual with a disability. This is due to sport’s rehabilitative power to affect persons especially power based on prestige and because sport may be a means of including an individual into society. The American Athletic Association of the Deaf recognized this and began a new approach to rehabilitating people with hearing impairment (Deaf People) by means of establishing and introducing the Deaf Olympics and other sporting events.

With the introduction of Deaf games, it later developed to recreational sport, and afterwards led to competitive games like the Deaf Olympics. The Deaf Olympics gave individuals with hearing impairment an equal opportunity or fair chance to excel in sport often means a complete transformation of lifestyle and attitude.

Presently, the inclusion of athletes with a disability within one competitive sports ground and, at times, within the same event, has also taken a closer step towards the inclusion concept as a whole. Furthermore, athletes with hearing impairment are slowly receiving recognition and acceptance into the Olympic family. Since 1984, athletes who are deaf have participated in demonstration events at the international level including the winter and summer Olympics.

The people with haring impairment popularly known as deaf people have long been contending in sporting events, despite the fact that they typically vie in opposition to other group of people with a similar disability or impairment. Though, the Akron Club for the Deaf in Ohio was the primary organization to assume the first sponsorship of the national basketball tournament in the United States in the year 1945. This club further went ahead and founded the American Athletic Union of the Deaf (USDAF, 2006). This union afterward became the American Athletic Association of the Deaf, and in 1997, the name changed to USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF).

This union was established to encourage and standardize uniform regulations of the contest and presents a social means for deaf contestants and their friends. The union serves as the mother organization for national sports unions, carries out annual athletic competitions, and helps U.S. teams in taking part in international contests like the Deaf Olympics and so on.

Similar to the Olympics, the Deaf Olympics, is held both at winter and summer sports event, and hosted worldwide. The Deaf Olympics has been hosted in Denmark, Frances, Italy, Germany and also Australia. While 33 of the past 37 Deaf Olympics competition have taken place in foreign countries, the United States of America has only hosted the international event 4 times in the past. The Deaf Olympics was first hosted in the year 1965 in Washington DC, in 1975 in Lake Placid, 1985 in Los Angeles, and finally in 2007 in, Salt Lake City.

Despite the fact that it is comparable to the Olympics, the Deaf Olympics do not embrace almost as many competitions as the Olympics do. The Deaf Olympics is a leading intercontinental sporting activity, where best people trained to compete in sporting events from all around the world meet to contend for an award known as the gold medal. Contesting at the global competitive level demands the same characteristics mandatory by all contestants: enthusiasm, determination, mastery, sacrifice, and a will to win. Meeting the proper standards, requirements and training for this fantastic sporting event is already a great success since each sporting contestant is believed to be the top in his or her country.

In line with the Olympics games, there is also an Olympic for deaf, popularly known as the Deaf Olympics. The Deaf Olympics (earlier called World Games for the Deaf and International Games for the Deaf) is an International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved sporting games at which deaf contestants participate at a selected level. However, distinct from the sports persons in other International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved games (e.g. The Paralympics, the Olympics, and the Special Olympics), the participants in Deaf Olympic cannot be subjected to guidance or controlled by sounds (i.e., the official who signals the beginning of a race or competition’s guns, loud Hailer commands or umpire whistles) (ICSD). The Deaf Olympics games have been coordinated by the “The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf” (CISS, Comite International des Sports des Sounds) since the event first took place.

This sporting activity is related to the original Olympics, but the major variation that deviates from the standard or norm are the prerequisites. In accordance with the International Committee for Sports of the Deaf, to take part in the summer and winter Deaf Olympics, the athletes or contestants must be: Deaf, clearly characterized or delimited at an impairment loss of no less than 55 dB per sound average in the healthier ear (3-tone frequency average at 500, 1000 and 2000 Hertz, ISO 1969 Standard) and a fellow of the associated National Deaf Sports Federation and nationals of the country being represented. Apparently, there is no universal age maximum for contestants. On the other hand, age restrictions may be relevant for precise games or events as declared in the applicable International Sports Federations directives.

The use of hearing devices or implants and cochlear of the ear is sternly banned in the Deaf Olympic games. The rationale behind this is so that all the contestants are all positioned on the same altitude hearing wise. To structure this out language expressed by visible hand gestures was allowed for use in the Deaf games for two rationales, it reflects on the suitable language to the contestants and is regarded a sigh language which does not put the competitors at an edge over the other participants.

The Deaf Olympics

The Deaf Olympics is sporting events like to the Olympics but connected towards the hearing impaired people. This event was first hosted in Paris in the year 1924. The Deaf Olympics became the first international sporting event organized for people with hearing disabilities. This event was initially called the International Games for the Deaf, International Silent Games, and World Games for the Deaf. This event is infrequently called the World Silent Games before lastly being nicknamed the Deaf Olympics (“Disabled World”). Similar to the International Olympics games, the Deaf Olympics has many special games in which people with hearing impairment can participate in, such as football, tennis, bowling, curling and many others.

The Deaf Olympics are above just the world’s second most preceding multiple sporting events after the Olympics. This event took off as far back as the year 1924, and the primary country that hosted this Olympic game was France. The games started as a small assembling of 148 athletes from nine European countries contending in the International Silent Games in Paris, France, but at the moment, the number has increased into an international movement. At that point, in time, the public all over the world considered people with hearing impairment as intellectually deficient, lingually rejected member of the society who needs help from other people, and they generally interact with them as those groups of people rejected or neglected by the society.

The international sports event was imagined by Monsieur Rubens-Alcais as the best solution of including people with hearing impairment into the society. Also, the international sports event was achieved with the assistance of a very influential young deaf Belgian known as Antoine Dress. Consequently, since the introduction of the gaming event, twenty one summer sports competition have been held after the opening Paris games with 148 contestants and the first winter games were organized in Seefeld, Austria, in the year 1949, with 33 competitors from five countries throughout the world. Though, no games were hosted between 1939 and 1949 as a result of the World War II.

Also, the late Art Kruger left a distinctive influence on much of the basic features of deaf sports in America (Stewart, 1990). He moderated the first national basketball tournament for the deaf in the year 1945 and instituted the American Athletic Association of the Deaf. He introduced the Deaf All-American selections in basketball and football in tertiary institutions for the deaf and to a great extent stretched out the participation of the United States of America in the Olympic Games for the Deaf (popularly known as the deaf Olympics).

Kruger however worked for fifty years as a sports journalist and was writing on a 15-publication reference books (frequently in several volumes) containing a piece of writings on different topics (frequently set in alphabetical order) dealing with the complete collection of people with hearing impairment in sports right up to his death. Excluding the dimension or the ability to play basketball, football or baseball himself, he became connected by participation with players’ management at a time when that destined setting up, fund raising, buying equipment and hiring of team members.

Involving young people Deaf sport is an important objective of USADSF. The Deaf Youth Sports Festival (known as Deaf Olymics), held in Louisville, Kentucky, is designed for the participation of 6-18 years-old Deaf students (Paciorek & Jones, 2006). This event is mostly important in encouraging pride in Deaf sport and raises the number of participation among Deaf youths who will form the future of Deaf sport and to share this information with Deaf students.

The sport skills of Deaf athletes span the range found in the hearing population, from unskilled to highly skilled. With the unbiased rules of the American Deaf Olympics, the participants at the American Deaf Olympic games held in Louisville, Kentucky, capable of competing as equals with hearing athletes, and some do so with significant success. As far back as 1883, the athletes with hearing impairment were competing in professional sport in the United States. In that year, Ed Dundon became the first recorded Deaf professional baseball player and is reported to be the reason for the development of umpire hand signals. Curtis Pride is Deaf and competes in Major League Baseball, and Jeff Pollock from Salt Lake City who are on the U.S. snowboarding team, won medals in the 2005 Deaf Olympics event. Deaf athletes have also excelled in sports such as swimming, wrestling, bowling, and American football. In fact, the hurdle is said to have been first used by the Gallaudet University football team to prevent competing Deaf teams from eavesdropping on their plays (Gallaudet University, 2007).

The Deaf Olympics held both in United States of America and other Continents in the world had a tradition of bringing Deaf athletic competition to the fore front of public consciousness. However, competitive sports (like the Deaf Olympics) have proven to be an effective vehicle to promote accessibility, equality, inclusion, and consciousness about the quality of being fit (physically, intellectually) in those with Hearing disability. Competitive sports dispel the stigma about deafness and enlighten the realm of the possible-they emphasize athletes’ ability, rather than disability. The Deaf Olympics promote the realm of possibility.

Summary and Conclusion

For many of people with hearing impairment in the United States of America, the majority of their exposure to Deaf culture is through Deaf sports and competitions (like the Deaf Olympics). Many deaf athletes choose to compete against other deaf athletes under the auspices of the USADSF. The organization was established as the American Athletes Association for the Deaf (AAAD) in Ohio in 1945. People with moderate or severe hearing loss (55 dB or greater in the better ear) are eligible for USADSF competition. No hearing aids or cochlear implants are permitted during USADSF competition.

The worldwide counterpart of USADSF is the Comite International des Sport des Sounds (CISS), which translates to the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). Currently, CISS is not a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Instead of participating in the Paralympic Games, Deaf sport holds its own summer and winter Deaflympics every four years. Winter events include Alpine and Nordic skiing, speed skating and ice hockey.

The rules followed by the USADSF and CISS are nearly identical to those used in national and international competitions for hearing athletes. To equalize competition, athletes are not allowed to wear hearing aids, though few changes have been made to the application of visual rather than auditory cues. For example, in team sports a whistle is blown and a flag is waved to stop play. Strobe lights are used at starting blocks for swimming events. In track, lighting system placed 50 meters in front of the starting blocks and to the side of the track is used to signal the start of a race.

Study Questions

1. Why does CISS have its own separate games (i.e., Deaflympics) and why does it not participate in the paraylmpics?

2. Who played an influential role in revolutionizing Deaf sports?

3. Which year is considered the first year that the now-termed Deaf Olympics took palace in The United States of America? At that time what were the games called? Which athletes participated in these games? Who coined the word Deaf Olympics?

4. How often was the Deaf Olympics held? Do the Deaf Olympics take palace before or after the Olympics? Where were the 2000 Deaf Summer Games and 2002 Deaf Olympics winter games?

5. Name (spell out completely and as an acronym) the Deaf sport federations. What year was each federation founded?

6. What year was the Deaf Olympic founded? What umbrella organization preceded it?


Gallaudet University. (2007). Overall style requirements for proposal and final document. Writing style. Retrieved July 31, 2007, from http:/ / _Masters_Thesis_Handbook_11_2007_OVERALLSTYLE.pdf.

ICSD News. Retrieved on 5th June 5, 2012.

Paciorek, M.J., & Jones, J.A. (2006). Disability sport and recreation resources (4th ed.). Carmel, IN: Cooper.

Stewart, D.A. (1990). Global dimensions of world games for the deaf. Palaestra. 6(2), 32-35.43.

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