September 7-18, 2016
With the Opening Ceremony to be held Sept. 7, 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will become the first South American city to host a Paralympic Games. More than 4,350 athletes from 160 nations are expected to compete in 22 sports, including para-canoe and paratriathlon, both which debut on the Paralympic program in 2016.
The 2016 Paralympic Games, Sept. 7-18, follow the 2016 Olympic Games, Aug. 5-21, in the same venues.
QUALIFICATION AND SELECTION
An overview of qualification and selection procedures and key dates for each sport are available by clicking here.
With less than 500 days to go, Team USA is preparing for an exciting Games with new sports and new ways to watch.
Swimmer Jessica Long of Baltimore, Maryland, is aiming for her fourth consecutive Paralympic Games. She won her first of 12 Paralympic titles in 2004 at age 12.
- Paralympic inclusion: Two sports, para-canoe and paratriathlon, will debut on the Paralympic program at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. With three medal events in both men’s and women’s para-canoe, a total of 60 athletes are expected to compete in the debut of the sport, which is almost identical to canoeing for able-bodied athletes. The inaugural Paralympic Games paratriathlon event will feature a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run, and three of the five classification divisions will be contested. Men’s PT1 (wheelchair/handcycle) and men’s PT4 (limb deficiencies, impaired muscle power or range of movement) have been added, as well as women’s PT4. The remaining three medal events will be announced later this year.
- Increased coverage: U.S. media rights holders NBCUniversal and the USOC will build on its unprecedented coverage of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, March 7-16, with more coverage of the Games than ever before in 2016. The networks will air 66 hours of coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, an increase of 60.5 hours from the coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, while TeamUSA.org and USParalympics.org will provide comprehensive online coverage.
- Sports and service: At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, 20 active duty and veteran athletes competed for the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team. Several of the athletes are making a run for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, including retired U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Maryland), a swimmer who won a gold medal on Sept. 7, 2012, the exact one-year anniversary of the improvised explosive device explosion in Afghanistan that cost him his vision. He returned to international competition in August, winning six gold medals and one bronze medal at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships. Another military athlete in the mix is swimmer turned paratriathlete Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Illinois), retired, U.S. Army. Stockwell, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the first U.S. female solider injured in combat when a roadside bomb hit her Humvee in April 2004, resulting in the amputation of her left leg above the knee.
- Jessica Long-evity: While she will only be 24 years old at the 2016 Paralympic Games, Jessica Long of Baltimore, Maryland, is looking to make her fourth consecutive Paralympic appearance in 2016. Since her Paralympic debut as a 12 year old at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, where she won three gold medals, Long has gone on to become one of the most decorated Paralympic swimmers of all-time with a total of 17 medals. In 2014, Long continues to make strides. She held an on-camera role for NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in March then returned to the pool days later, winning multiple events at the Spring CanAm in Miami. Most recently, she set a world record at the Jimi Flowers Classic on June 21, swimming a 2:36.50 in the women’s 200-meter butterfly S8. She now holds 10 world records.
- Closing the gap: The U.S. Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team, ranked second in the world, has met top-ranked China in the past two Paralympic Games (2008, 2012) and world championships (2010, 2014) in the gold-medal matches. Each time, the Chinese came away with the title. However, the U.S. won its first match over China in the 2013 Moscow Cup gold-medal match, and in March 2014, the U.S. defeated China twice in the Denver Sitting Volleyball Challenge. At the 2014 World ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championships, Team USA held two title match points over China before falling 17-15 in the fifth set. China has won all three Paralympic Games women’s sitting volleyball titles (2004, 2008, 2012), but Team USA is ready to top the leaderboard in Rio.