Explain the classifications for cycling, swimming and athletics

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Oksana Masters poses during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.

B – For visually impaired athletes who compete on tandem bikes with a sighted rider called a pilot at the front.

H 1-5 – For competitors paralyzed or amputated of a lower limb who ride handbikes. H1-4 athletes do not have leg function but varying degrees of arm and trunk function and must roll in a supine position. Those of H5 compete on their knees. Will Groulx (H2) won gold in the Rio 2016 road race and silver in the time trial after winning medals in wheelchair rugby at each of the previous three Paralympic Games.

C 1-5 – For athletes who ride a standard bike, sometimes with adaptations. The C1 competitors have the most significant physical limitations, with increasing function up to C5. Shawn Morelli (C4) won gold in the time trial and individual track pursuit in Rio.

T 1-2 – These competitors ride on tricycles due to balance disorders or movements that prevent them from being able to ride a bicycle.

Mallory Weggmann poses during the Olympic shoot for Team USA Tokyo 2020 on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.

The prefix “S” is used for freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events, while the prefix “SB” is for breaststroke and “SM” for individual medley races.

There are 10 classifications in the “S” group and nine in “SB”, so most competitors who swim the breaststroke and at least one of the other three strokes will have multiple designations. For example, Jessica Long, who has won 23 Paralympic medals, including 13 gold, is ranked S8 / SB7 / SM8.

S 1-4 and SB 1-3 – These swimmers have the most severe disabilities and their individual strokes consist of three different strokes instead of four.

S5 / SB4 and S6 / SB5 – These classifications include short swimmers, those who have had an amputation of both arms and those who have problems with control or coordination on one side of the body. Roy Perkins (S5) has won 11 medals at the last three Paralympics, including gold in the 50-meter butterfly in Beijing and Rio.

S7 / SB6 – For athletes who have had a leg and arm amputation on opposite sides; paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side; or full function in the arms and trunk and some functions of the legs. McKenzie Coan (S7) won gold in the 50, 100 and 400-meter freestyle in Rio.

S8 / SB7 – For swimmers who have an amputation of an arm or severe restrictions with the joints of the lower body.

S9 / SB8 – These competitors suffered double amputations below the knee or joint restrictions in one leg. Michelle Konkoly won gold in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle in Rio, as well as two other relay medals.

S10 / SB9 – These swimmers have minimal physical impairments, such as the loss of a hand.

S / SB 11-13
– For visually impaired competitors, with 11 the most visually impaired and 13 the least. S11 athletes should wear dark glasses and have someone using a long pole tap them as they approach the end of a lane. Brad Snyder (S11) has five gold and two silver in London and Rio.

S / SB 14 – For athletes with intellectual disabilities.

David Brown and Jerome Avery pose during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.,

Track and Field and Show Jumping events have a “T” prefix before classification, while Field events have an “F” prefix.

T / F 11-13 – These rankings are aimed at visually impaired athletes, with 11 the most impaired and 13 the least. T / F11 athletes wear sunglasses during competition to ensure no one has an advantage. Quadruple Paralympic long jump silver medalist Lex Gillette competes in the T11 class.

V / V 20 – For athletes with an intellectual disability which affects the “adaptive conceptual, social and practical skills required for everyday life”. Mikey Brannigan, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, won gold in the T20 1,500 meters in Rio.

T / F 31-34 – For athletes with impaired coordination, often due to head trauma or cerebral palsy. These athletes competed seated, usually in a wheelchair.

T / F 35-38 – Same as above, except that these athletes compete standing.

T / F 40-41 – For short athletes.

V / F 42-44 – For athletes with impaired legs, a difference in leg length or a decrease in muscle power or range of motion of the legs. Hunter Woodhall (T44) won silver in the 200 meters and bronze in the 400 in Rio.

T / F 45-47 – For athletes with an arm impairment or a decrease in muscle power or range of motion of the arms. Roderick Townsend (T46) won gold in the long jump and high jump in Rio.

T / F 51-54
– These athletes compete in wheelchairs. Those of T51 and T52 have limitations in their legs and arms, while the competitors of T53 have fully functional arms but limitations with their trunk. Those in T54 have more trunk function and maybe a leg function. Tatyana McFadden (T54) has won 16 Paralympic track medals, including seven gold, and has won the Boston, New York, Chicago and London marathons several times.

F 55-57 – In these classifications of throwing events, the F55 competitors do not have a leg function, while F56 has a partial function and F57 the most function.

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