The Deaflympics is set to kick off in Samsun, Turkey running from 18th – 30th July 2017. We’re super excited! So in preparation, we’ve decided to countdown our top 5 facts about the Deaflympics.
1. The Deaflympics is the second oldest multi-sport Olympic event
The first Games were held in Paris in 1924 and have been held every fours years since, apart from a break during World War II. The Deaflympics predates both the Paralympics and the Special Olympics.
2. It wasn’t always called the Deaflympics
The Games were originally called the “International Games for the Deaf” until 1965. They were also sometimes referred to as the “International Silent Games”. From 1966 to 1999, they were called the “World Games for the Deaf”. From 2001, the Games became officially known as the Deaflympics and sometimes mistakenly called the Deaf Olympics.
3. An athlete must have at least a 55 decibel loss (in their ear with the most hearing) in order to be eligible
Hearing aids and cochlear implants are also not allowed to be used in the competition.
4. The Deaflympics logo is inspired by the sign for Olympics
The circle in the middle represents an eye because Deaf people are very visual. The four colours of the logo – red, green, yellow and blue – represent the four regional confederations of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Pan-America and Africa.
5. The Deaflympics are a celebration of Deaf culture and pride
Many hearing people ask why there is a Deaflympics and ask whether Deaf athletes can compete in the Paralympics. There are currently no deaf-specific events in the Paralympics, and the Deaflympics are also an important way to raise awareness about Deaf culture and celebrate the global Deaf community. The Deaflympics also vary in the way they are officiated compared to hearing sport competitions. Due to Deaflympians not being able to be guided by sounds, the sports have different methods of commencing the game. For example, in a football match the referee will wave a flag rather than blow a whistle. On the track, races are started by using a signal light rather than a starting pistol. Spectators are also encouraged not to cheer or clap, but rather use Deaf applause by waving both their hands.