Your Paralympic Games Viewing Guide!

March 9, 2018 | | View Comments

Celebrate the 2018 Paralympic Games using our viewing guide to take you through the history and essentials of this remarkable international competition!



As a result World War II, the number of people with physical and visual impairments skyrocketed. London’s 1948 Olympics were designed to inspire resilience and hope into a disparaged world. On the same day as the 1948 Olympics, sixteen injured British service men and women took part in archery competition. In 1955, Dutch and Israeli ex-service men and women joined the competition, which was named The International Stoke Mandeville Games.  

Image courtesy of The History Press

The first official Paralympics games were held in Rome in the summer of 1960. Over 400 athletes from 23 different countries competed together in events ranging from archery to javelin.


Image courtesy of the International Paralympic Committee

Winter Paralympians got their first start in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden in 1976. The main events were Alpine (downhill) and Nordic (cross-country) skiing. These games also expanded the range of disabilities for Paralympic athletes, to include visually impaired athletes as well as those missing limbs.


Image courtesy of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games

The Six Sports of the 2018 Winter Paralympics

Athletes will be eligible to compete in six different sports: Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Para Ice Hockey, Snowboarding, and Wheelchair Curling. Within each sport, athletes will be grouped by type and range of disability.


Oregonian Paralympians

Image courtesy of NBC Sports

Rico Roman

Portland native and Purple Heart recipient Rico Roman lost his left leg after being wounded by an IED on his third tour in Iraq. Within one year of his amputation, Roman completed two bike marathons and rode 150 miles within a single day to fundraise for multiple sclerosis research.

A year later in 2008 he was introduced to the sport of sled hockey, and one year after that joined his first major league sled hockey team the San Antonio Rampage. Since his 2011 debut on the USA National Sled Hockey Team, Roman has won team gold (2012), and silver (2013) in the International Paralympic Committee Sled Hockey World Championships, and helped his team win team gold in the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics. Roman will be competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympics, we wish him and his team the best of luck!


Greg Mallory

Born and raised in Portland, Greg grew up with a passion for outdoor sports. While in his final year of law school, Greg broke his back skiing off an outcropping. His injuries would ultimately leave him paraplegic. Greg quickly adapted to being an adaptive athlete–he has attended two Winter Paralympics Games (in 2006 and 2010) with his mono ski.

Not content with being a Paralympian, Greg decided to take up kayaking, a sport with which he had no prior experience. “We were all learning to kayak together, and they were athletic types that wanted to push things. I just figured I would keep up until I couldn’t. I thought at some point my disability would be a limiting factor, but before too long we were running a lot of the same stuff that the A-team was running.” (Source) You can learn more about Greg by watching the short film above.

Join us for a gathering to watch the Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony! See the world’s top athletes sporting state-of-the-art innovations in adaptive design in their ultimate capacity in this globally uniting event the evening of March 9th at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics is a major exhibition and education program by Design Museum Foundation, on view at the Pacific Northwest College of Art from February 15 – May 9, 2018. From sculpting ocular prosthetics to crowdsourcing affordable 3D printed hands, this exhibition surveys past, present, and future of prosthetic design on a global scale. Visitors will explore evolution and design process behind a range of prostheses through visual stories, historical surveys, videos, and interactive models. Over 35+ case studies — spanning DIY-inventions from kids to mind-controlled bionic limbs — tell the stories behind the patients, clinicians, designers, and artists changing how we think about the impact of design, and ultimately, the future of our mobility.

Visit our exhibition website for the full list of programming and events related to this exhibition!