Science to Share

(Dis)Abilities in Sports

(Dis)Abilities in Sports – About us

Ireen Wüst, Sven Kramer, and Suzanne Schulting are names that probably sound familiar to you, they are all Dutch professional athletes that participated in the Winter Olympics that just finished. But what about Barbara van Bergen, Jeroen Kampschreur or Lisa Bunschoten? Probably not, but they are professional athletes as well! In two weeks, they will be competing at the Paralympics, an event for athletes with all kinds of physical and intellectual disabilities. They compete against each other in sports only slightly different from what you might be familiar with. For example, using a sitting tool, athletes with leg impairments can participate in alpine skiing. And did you know visually impaired athletes can still participate in biathlon? Tijs is going to tell you all about this! Jamie will tell you everything about what kind of technology is behind these adapted tools to support the Paralympic athletes, and Mira wants to know why the Paralympics get so much less attention compared to the Olympics. We would like to show you how cool competing with a disability can be, and why these athletes deserve as much attention as the athletes without disabilities get. Maybe you’ll be rooting for Barbara, Jeroen or Lisa in a few weeks!  

Tijs Aarsen 

Hi I’m Tijs! I’m a Cognitive Psychology master student and a super fanatical hockey player. Don’t you just hate losing? I know I do and everyone at the Olympics probably does as well! But what about the Paralympics, is participation more important than winning? Probably not! Being athletes like any other they’re very competitive too. Want to bet blade runners are faster than you? Or hand cyclists can go faster than you can? But how do these adapted tools allow them to perform at such a high level? Let’s find out! 

Jamie Campos 

Hey, I’m Jamie, a computer engineer from the Philippines. While the sports I tend to keep up with tend to be of the “e-” variety I do have experience with multiple martial arts including taekwondo, muay thai, and arnis! Can you guess which one I have a blackbelt in? My IT related background makes me very interested in how technology can be used to help address certain disabilities and their use in sports is no exception! How can blind people compete in shooting sports? How are sensors revolutionizing the way we fit prosthetics? Let’s find out together and shine a light on a little discussed topic! 

Mira Innemee 

Hi! My name is Mira, I study Neurosciences and I’m a real sports fan. As I play volleyball on a high level myself, sport plays a big role in my life. I’m an active watcher of the Olympic Games, and I already got introduced to many new and cool sports as a result of this. However, although I’m a sports fanatic, I realized I don’t know much about how people with disabilities practice sports. And I know I’m not the only one! But why is this? Why do the Paralympic Games for example get so much less attention? I’m trying to sort this out!