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Google doodle marks opening of Paralympics 2018

This year's winter competition of disabled athletes will be the biggest yet, with a record 567 athletes from 48 countries.

Google doodle.


The Paralympic Games 2018 opens Friday in PyeongChang, and to mark the occasion, Google has launched an animated doodle that highlights the sports in which disabled athletes will participate.

Beginning as a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948, the Paralympic Games has grown into the world's largest sporting event for athletes with physical disabilities. Since 1960, the Paralympics have taken place during the same year the Olympic Games are held.

This year's competition will be the biggest winter Paralympics to date, with a record 567 athletes from 48 countries vying for 80 medals in six sports: Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, Para ice hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling.

 "It is fantastic news for the growth of winter Para sports that a record number of athletes and countries will compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games," Andrew Parson, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said in a statement.

Three countries will make their first appearance at the Winter Paralympics in South Korea. North Korea and Georgia are sending two athletes each, while Tajikistan has entered one.

The largest delegation is coming from the US, which is sending 68 athletes, followed by Canada with 52. Mirroring the situation with the Olympic Games, 30 Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as part of a neutral delegation called the Neutral Paralympic Athletes, after Russia's doping past lead to its disqualification from both the 2018 Olympics and Paralympics.

The games run from March 9-18.

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