— Published 17 February 2023

USOPC and NCAA make common cause

With less than 600 days to go until the opening of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the United States is picking up the pace. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with the NCAA – the university sports organisation – to boost the promotion of the best athletes with disabilities in the US. The two parties plan to host several new events showcasing Paralympic sports and athletes, including a wheelchair basketball All Star Game, and a college wheelchair 100m race at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. It is also planned that the college wheelchair tennis championships will now be held as part of the NCAA Division I able-bodied tennis championships. According to the latest statistics, more than half of the athletes on the US Paralympic team at the Tokyo 2020 Games had competed at the university level in 14 sports. With this agreement, the USOPC and the NCAA hope that the Paralympic movement will experience the same growth as women’s sport in the United States. The two organisations explained that women’s participation has exploded at the highest level after being integrated into university athletic departments.