Paid PostPosted on Feb 26, 201810 Facts You Never Knew About The ParalympicsLearn something new today, and #StartYourImpossible with Toyota.by Toyota Motor CorpBrand PublisherFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink 1. The Paralympics made its debut in Rome in 1960. brizzlebornandbred / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Via flic.kr But it all really began in 1948, when sports for athletes with impairments were widely introduced as a way of helping injured WWII vets. Dr. Ludwig Guttman was treating a number of patients with spinal cord injuries and organized an archery competition for wheelchair athletes. Years later, in 1976, Sweden staged the first Paralympic Winter Games. 2. The word "Paralympics" means "next to the Olympics." William87 / Getty Images The Greek word para translates to "alongside of." Since both games occur around the same time, original organizers used the prefix to form the name "Paralympics." 3. Athletes are divided into classifications “to minimize the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition.” Ostill / Getty Images A panel of international classifiers determines where athletes should be placed. For the Winter Paralympic Games, competitors with vision and physical impairments compete, and most events are divided into vision, sitting, and standing categories. 4. This year, the Winter Paralympics events consist of alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, para ice hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling. Eric_schroeder / Getty Images The Paralympic sporting events often change. For example, ice sledge racing was a competitive event until 1998. In 2022, we’re hoping to see bobsledding, a sport where the sleds are controlled by just one athlete at a time, included in competition. 5. Vision-impaired athletes compete in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and the biathlon. Oneinchpunch / Getty Images These legally blind athletes compete with a guide who assists them during their events and are ultimately responsible for their safety. For alpine skiing, guides communicate by radio, and the athletes have microphones in their ear while racing down the hill at speeds around 75 mph! For the biathlon, when it comes to the shooting portion, athletes use a specialized laser beam rifle and aim for the target via sound. 6. Both para ice hockey and wheelchair curling are mixed events, meaning that men and women can compete with each other. adrian8_8 / CC BY 2.0 / Via flic.kr When it comes to wheelchair curling, athletes don't need to be using a wheelchair in daily life to compete, as the event is inclusive for those who have lower-body impairments but can still walk short distances. For para ice hockey, athletes are seated on sledges — which are basically sleds with blades — and use double-ended sticks with a spike on one end for propelling them on the ice and a blade on the other end to pass and shoot the puck. While this sport has been "open to women" since 2010, it has been male-dominated since its debut in '94. 7. Norway leads in most gold medals for the Paralympic Winter Games. Romolotavani / Getty Images Norwegians have competed in every Paralympic Winter Games since 1976 and currently have 135 gold medals. 8. Overall, 48 nations and over 550 athletes are competing in 2018. Jewhyte / Getty Images The final number of countries may still change last minute. There will be 80 total events, and snowboarding has expanded this year to include 10 medal events. 9. This is the first-ever Winter Paralympics that North Korean athletes are expected to compete in. Santypan / Getty Images While the country has been represented in two summer games, this is the first time that two athletes have the chance to participate in para nordic skiing for the winter games. 10. Athletes from Russia were banned from the games, but they are still allowed to participate as neutrals. Skgkirill / Getty Images Due to a widespread doping scandal, Russian athletes can only compete under a neutral flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" in PyeongChang after having been banned fully from Rio 2016. At the Paralympics, nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it. #StartYourImpossible with Toyota, a mobility company for all.