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Deaflympics: World Games for the Deaf :
Also see: Deaflympics (2)
Also see: Deaflympics Snowboarding

Also see: The sign for OLYMPICS

By Jeff Leavins
November 12, 2001

World Games for the Deaf 

Prior the May 17, 2001, the World Games for the Deaf was called the "Deaf World Games." Then the International Olympic Committee approved the request by the Comite Internationale Sports des Sourds (CISS) to change the "Deaf World Games" to the Deaflympics". (, 11-11-01). The CISS has almost 80 nation members. It is an international body of government for deaf sports. The nation members are led by 8 deaf persons that serve on an executive committee. President is Mr. John M. Lovett, of Melborne, Australia, and Secretary General is Dr. Donald K Ammons of Washington, D.C. The headquarters of the CISS are in Silver Springs, Maryland. The Deaflympics have a wide variety of sports totaling 15. They are, athletics, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, football, handball, orienteering, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. (, 11-11-01)

Young deaf people, in the years preceding 1924, had given little importance towards international sports. It was most likely because there were not any national committees to sponsor and provide sporting events for the deaf. Then a deaf Frenchman, Mr. Eugene Rubens-Alcais, started the International Silent Games for the Deaf, which was a deaf version of the Olympic games. Paris, France held the first games between the 10th and 17th of August 1924. The nations that participated were Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Great Britain, Holland, and Poland.

There were also competitors from Hungary, Italy, and Romania. The competitions of the first games were athletics, cycling, football, shooting, and swimming, (, 11-11-01). The games were so well liked that that the participators pressed to continue the games every four years. Germany was then admitted as a new member on October 31 1924, when the first Congress met unanimously adopted the first draft of the CISS statues. Then between the 18th and 26th of 1928, the 2nd Silent games took place in Amsterdam and Switzerland also became a new member.(, 11-11-01). As the Deaf Silent Games became more popular, so did its size. The CISS's membership was growing also with more and more countries wanting to participate.

Between the 26th and 30th of January 1949, the 1st International Winter Silent Games were held. The event took place in Seefeld with 33 competitors from 5 different nations.(, 11-1101). With all of the growth and popularity of the International Games for the deaf, the rest of the world was taking a notice also. The International Olympic Committee gave a reception for the CISS on May 12, 1951. In the whole 25 years of the CISS's existence, this was the first time the world organization acknowledged the CISS's administration and sports events. Four years later, the CISS was recognized as a "International Federation with Olympic standing" by the International Olympic Committee. (, 11-11-01)

As the years have gone by, the Silent Games for the Deaf, or what is now called the Deaflympics, has continued to grow with more and more countries joining the CISS federation. As of the 18th World Summer Games, membership has rose to 72 nations.

There was also 2068 athletes that participated in 15 of the different sports in Denmark, at the 18th World Summer Games. In the future, the CISS hopes to continue its growth in membership, participating athletes and in the variety of sports.


(1) USA Deaf Volleyball Teams. USA TEAM. Retrieved 11, Nov, 2001.
(2) About Deaflympics2001Rome. Retrieved 11, Nov.2001.
(3) History:Full Version, I. CISS. Retrieved 11, Nov.2001.


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