The Winter Paralympic Games 2022 open Friday in Beijing, and Google is marking the occasion with an animated Doodle that highlights the sports in which athletes will participate.
Beginning as a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948, the Paralympic Games have grown into the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with physical impairments. Since 1960, the Paralympics have taken place during the same year the Olympic Games are held.
Officially known as the XIII Paralympic Winter Games, this year’s competition will run from March 4-13 and be the biggest winter Paralympics to date. About 650 athletes will vie for 78 medals in six sports: Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, Para ice hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling.
The Games were expected to feature representatives from 49 countries, but athletes from Russia and Belarus have been barred from participating after other teams threatened to boycott the Games over. Belarus was included in the ban because that country has served as a key staging area for the invasion Russia launched last week.
Thursday’s decision by the International Paralympic Committee came a day after the governing body said it would allow athletes from the two countries to participate in the Games as neutrals.
Russia is drafting a lawsuit with the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the IPC’s decision, the Russian news agency Tass reported Thursday. A 71-member Russian contingent and 12-member team from Belarus are already in Beijing.
The Games will be broadcast on NBC, Peacock, USA Network, Olympic Channel, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports App. The broadcast schedule can be found here.