Paralympians excelling in more than one sport

The Paralympic Games </>

This week’s Tidy Tuesday comes from the International Paralympic Committee. The data details all medal winners from the 1980-2016 Paralympic Games.

The Paralympics is the largest sports competition for athletes with an impairment worldwide. According to the IPC website, “It involves athletes from several impairment categories. The six main disability categories are: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment, visually impaired, spinal injuries and Les Autres (French for”the others”, a category that includes conditions that do not fall into the categories mentioned before.)”

Researching the Paralympics, I found there were instances where more than one athlete was competing in not just more than one event under a type of sport (eg: competing in butterfly and breaststroke) but also competing and winning medals in more than one sport (eg: athletics and table tennis).

When I started to analyse the data, I found 692 athletes won medals in more than one sport in each of the Paralympic Games between 1980 and 2016, compared to just seven Olympic athletes in that same time period. I decided to put together a simple connected scatterplot to showcase the percentage of Paralympic athletes who won medals at each of the Games to best reflect any changes over the years.

Interestingly, Kyung Mook Kim, representing the Republic of Korea, has won medals at every Paralympic Games from 1992 - 2016, in table tennis and wheelchair tennis.

It seems many Paralympic athletes often compete at elite levels in multiple sports at the Games.

Amy Mitchell-Whittington
Amy Mitchell-Whittington