February 5, 2018

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Classification 101

February 5, 2018


Classification 101


If you are new to adaptive sports, the term “classification” is about to become a very important part of your vocabulary! In this blog post, hopefully I can clear up any questions you may have regarding classification and what you can do right now to get classified in preparation for the 2018 Dairyland Games.


What is classification?

Classification is a way to match an athlete with others of similar skill and ability to make competition both fair and more exciting! This way, an athlete of a certain skill and ability level is not paired up with an athlete at a completely different level. For example, athletes with amputations compete separately from athletes with visual impairments because they are in different “sport classes” (U.S. Paralympics).


What are the different classifications?

Every sport has its own, unique classification system. This is because skills used in each sport are impacted differently by the each disability. For example, an athlete with an arm amputation will be affected differently in archery than in swimming, so they will have a unique classification for each of the two sports (U.S. Paralympics).


While there are some sports that are not offered for every impairment type, the general list of “eligible impairments” given by the U.S. Paralympic Committee includes 10 groups:

-impaired muscle power            -impaired passive range of movement      -limb deficiency

-leg length difference                 -short stature                                                -hypertonia

-ataxia                                           -athetosis                                                      -visual impairment

-intellectual impairment*


*not included in Dairyland Games


National Provisional Status (important for new athletes!)

Due to the limited number of opportunities for athletes to get classified in-person, the U.S. Paralympic committee has developed a way for athletes to get classified from afar via the Gateway to Gold app. An athlete (or parent) can download this app to their phone and set up an account for free. Athletes will be prompted to send in photos and videos for the sport/s in which they desire to be classified and also need to fill out a National Medical Diagnostics form (find under “Registration- Classification”) and submit it to Sherrice Fox at Sherrice.fox@usoc.org For any questions regarding National Provisional Status, contact Sherrice Fox.


How can I get classified for Dairyland Games?

Now, bringing the topic of classification specifically to Dairyland Games, there are two ways you can get classified for our events, and it is different for each sport.



We require all athletes competing in anything other than the exhibition 25 yard swim to be classified. For new athletes, when registering select “In Progress” as your classification status and begin the process of getting your National Provisional Status by downloading the Gateway to Gold app on your phone and sending in your medical form, photos, and videos to get a provisional classification before April 14, 2018. Once classified, email dairylandsports@gmail.com with the classification you have been given.



There are only 2 classes for archery: W1/W2 and Open. W1 or W2 are the classification options for any athletes competing in a wheelchair, and open is for all others. However, we do require that all athletes competing in archery have at least some previous archery experience.


Track and Field:

We are happy to announce that we will have a classification panel available for our track and field athletes! This means that unclassified athletes can register as “Needs Classification” and then get classified in-person at the Dairyland Games in May! Athletes must still complete and submit a National Medical Diagnostics form to Sherrice Fox at Sherrice.fox@usoc.org before April 14, 2018. 


For more information about Paralympic Classification, visit:

U.S. Paralympics  https://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/athlete-classifications/how-are-athletes-classified/


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