As for the Olympics, I thought I'd pick out a few sports from the Paralympics that I find interesting to watch. As well as specific sports, it's a good exercise for live game designers to look at the different ways in which sports can be adapted to those with differing physical needs. There are six different classes of paratriathlon, for example, each using different adaptations to the conventional race structure. But these sports are particularly interesting to me on design terms alone:
Football, 5-a-side At the Paralympics, two versions of football are played but this version, adapted entirely for blind and partially-sighted players, is fantastic. Side boards prevent the ball leaving play easily and the ball contains bells, allowing players to follow it, but only roughly. As a result, attackers run with the ball at their feet with incredible skill, using touch alone to navigate defences. Goalkeepers are sighted but each team has a spotter behind the opponent's goal, who can give signals and tap on the goalposts to give attackers cues. The entire game works in a format that is recognisably football, yet entirely suited to play without the primary sense required for the standard game.
Boccia A stablemate of bowls or petanque played with weighted leather balls, Boccia is suitable for people with a range of physical impairments, who use different equipment to play the same game, from wheelchairs to launching ramps for shots. A high level of skill and tactical thinking is required but the game is recognisably itself across differing levels of disability classification.
Wheelchair Rugby although not directly related to rugby, this game has received a makeover on inclusion in the Paralympics, as its original informal name of "murderball" was a bit aggressive for the casual crowd. Teams of four compete to pass and carry a ball into a try area, but contact is both permitted and encouraged. Players are classified in terms of physical ability on a scale from 0.5 to 3.5, and a team can only have 8 points of players on the pitch at a time, so there is a role for players with a wide range of capacities and abilities.