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Frequently Asked Questions

Ian Lawless leads a cycling test at the Gateway to Gold event on Nov. 10, 2013, in Houston, Texas
Ian Lawless, the high performance director for U.S. Paralympics Cycling, helped evaluate athletes at the 2013 Gateway to Gold event in Houston.

The Gateway to Gold initiative is a talent identification program that will introduce people with physical and visual disabilities to Paralympic sport and lead them to the athlete pipeline for the U.S. Paralympic Team. As a cornerstone of Gateway to Gold, U.S. Paralympics and its community partners, including National Governing Bodies, Paralympic Sport Clubs and veteran organizations are hosting introduction to sport and talent identification events across the country.  The Gateway to Gold program is a prospective athletes’ first step toward the podium as well as a significant component in the organization’s mission to have the U.S. Paralympic Team ranked No. 1 in the world like its Olympic counterparts.

The program’s objective is to grow the number of Paralympic-eligible athletes competing in sport in the U.S. by conducting talent identification events and ongoing sport programming that aligns with U.S. Paralympics’ mission and goals.  The target population for the program is Paralympic-eligible (classifiable) athletes with a physical, visual, or intellectual impairment.  Emphasis is being placed on high school to collegiate-aged athletes; however, events are open to individuals of all ages with Paralympic-eligible impairment.

Here's more information on the program:

What are talent identification days? Talent identification days are sport focused events that identify and recruit new, eligible athletes in to Paralympic sport. These events will provide an opportunity for athletes to assess their sport skills and abilities through sport focused testing, drills and/or competition marks.

How do I know if I am eligible to participate in a talent identification daysTalent identification days open to children and adults under 40 years of age with physical disability or visual impairment. People are welcome to participate in a talent identification day that is sport-specific even if athletes with their physical disability or visual impairment are unable to participate in that sport at the Paralympic Games.

How much does it cost? Talent identification days are free.

Why should I participate in a talent identification day? Talent identification days provide athletes with the opportunity to assess their sport skills and abilities through sport specific testing, drills and coaches assessment. Athletes that show high athletic potential will have the opportunity to be invited to other U.S. Paralympic sport events and training designed to help them move in to the U.S. Paralympics’ athlete pipeline. Participation in talent identification days will expose athletes to Paralympic coaches, other athletes and information on how to continue to improve as an athlete.

What should I wear to a talent identification day? Athletes should come prepared in weather appropriate gym clothes and gym shoes.

What do you do with my personal information including my scores? Your personal information and scores are only shared with U.S. Paralympics coaches and staff. The information will be used to track your athletic performance.

How do I find a talent identification day in my community? Click here to learn where talent identification days are taking place across the country.

How does my performance at the event affect the next steps with my development as an athlete? Your scores will be entered in to a database that U.S. Paralympics will utilize to determine if you are eligible to move into the sport development pipeline.  If you are eligible, U.S. Paralympics staff will contact you with information on next steps.  If you are not eligible to move in to the sport development pipeline, you will be provided with information regarding skill progression of the sport and opportunities to get engaged at the local level.

Where can I compete in events against people with similar impairments? There are many regional competitions that allow all athletes with physical disability or visual impairments to compete in sport.  Events that are dubbed "regional competitions" are multi-sport events are hosted by U.S. Paralympics partners throughout the country.

How can I measure my scores against current national team standards? U.S. Paralympics staff and coaches will be comparing testing results and scores to known standards to evaluate each athlete’s potential. 

What are the sports and disability categories in the Paralympic Games? Visit the sports section of USParalympics.org to learn about the sports and classifications (disability categories) in the Paralympic Games.

What corporate sponsors support the Gateway to Gold talent identification initiative? The program is supported in part by associate sponsor BP.