The Sport Information Resource Centre
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The Sport Information Resource Centre

After participating at an international competition or major games event such as the Paralympics, athletes may experience the “post-Games blues.” Research shows that support structures that include educational programs and resources are important to help Paralympic athletes transition to life post-Games.

Becoming a Paralympian requires skill, dedication, resiliency, and a lot of practice. A recent study found that Paralympic athletes averaged over 6,400 hours of training during their careers.

“We’ve never been so focused on mental health and wellness at the Games.” In the SIRCuit, Stephanie Dixon, the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, shares insight on the mental health strategies designed to support Canada’s Olympic teams in Tokyo and Beijing, including the debut of a designated Mental Health Lead.

We often think about the stress that an athlete experiences before a major competition, but what about their coach? Research suggests that many Paralympian coaches set high expectations for themselves which can lead to stress and burnout. Strategies that help coaches manage their expectations and the expectations of athletes and support staff are key to supporting their well-being.

Did you know that Tokyo is the first city to host the Paralympic Games for a second time? Tokyo first hosted the Paralympic Games in 1964, where 378 Paralympic athletes competed for 419 medals. Now, 57 years later, 4,237 athletes will be competing for 1,522 medals.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games kick off today and run until September 5th.

The master project plan for an event like the Olympic or Paralympic Games is approximately 20,000 lines long. The postponement of Tokyo 2020 created a unique set of challenges for the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee, who are also preparing for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. In the SIRCuit, get a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of preparing for two Olympic and Paralympic Games amid a global pandemic.

Transitioning out of sport after standing on an Olympic or Paralympic podium, or after provincial/territorial competition, can be difficult. Tips to support athlete mental health through this transition include:

  1. Detrain your body and mind to adjust to the different but challenging demands of life after sport.
  2. Find purpose in the day to day by exploring other interests and developing new daily routines.
  3. Recognize the skills you learned through sport and apply them in other areas of your life.

A country’s bid to host a major sporting event is often justified by its potential impact on sports participation for all citizens. While evidence to support the “trickle-down effect” is limited, new research from the United Kingdom shows an increase in memberships among adults in 33 sports after hosting major sport events, including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, over a 10-year period.

Can the Olympic and Paralympic Games influence the sport participation of youth in the host communities? Research suggests that participation impacts may be most likely among youth populations, active and inspired spectators, and within communities that are home to event venues and medalists.

Although Olympic athletes are known for their meticulous pre-competition routines, many aspects of competition are out of their control. For example, research shows that Olympic swimmers have 0.32% improved performance when they race in the evening compared to in the morning—showing that time of day could be enough to make or break a podium performance.