The 2016 Olympics finished less than a month ago, but already we are on to the next biggest worldwide sporting event: the Paralympic Games.
Like the Olympics, the Paralympics give athletes with disabilities from all around the world the opportunity to compete for international success.
The disabilities of competitors in the Paralympic Games are wide ranging and are divided into categories and classifications. Some examples include people in wheelchairs, people with missing limbs, blind people, and people with an intellectual disability like down syndrome or autism, just to name a few.
Before the first official Paralympic Games was held in Italy in 1960, athletes with disabilities participated in the Olympics. However, smaller competitions like the International Wheelchair Games held in 1948 and 1952 were so popular that an organised event especially for athletes with disabilities was needed.
At first, only wheelchair-bound people could compete, but this changed in 1976 when athletes with lots of different disabilities were included in the Paralympics.
Nowadays, the Summer and Winter Paralympics happen on the same year and in the same country as the Olympic Games, usually very shortly after.
The New Zealand Paralympic team has 31 athletes in the team this year, who will be competing against over 4,000 others from nearly 180 countries around the globe. TVNZ will also be showing the Paralympics on TV for the first time in 10 years, so keep an eye out for our Kiwis in black and wish them well!