The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are among the world's fastest growing sports events. More than 3,200 deaf athletes and officials from 67 nations participated in the 20th Summer Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia, in January 2005. Over 600 athletes and officials participated in the 16th Winter Deaflympics in Salt Lake City, United States in February 2007.
The games are built on 80 years of tradition. Organized since 1924 by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds, CISS (The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf), the first Summer Deaflympics were held in Paris. Winter Deaflympics were added in 1949. The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, IOC.
The need for separate games for deaf athletes is not just evident in the numbers of participants. Deaf athletes are distinguished from all others in their special communication needs on the sports field, as well as in the social interaction that is an equally vital part of the games.
Taipei, the biggest city of Taiwan, has been selected to be the host of the 21st Summer Deaflympics. In the meanwhile, this is the milestone that the first Summer Deaflympics to be held in Asia. For this breaking point, Taipei City Government reconstructs the forty-year-old stadium and other venues to make their best effort to fit the standards.
Judo, Karate, and Taekwondo have been added in the Deaflympic sports competition program.
According to the preliminary received in 1 August 2008, there will be 17 sports, 20 disciplines, and 182 events.
The sports will offer at the 21st Summer Deaflympics are held in the disciplines of Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bowling, Cycling Road, Football, Karate, Handball, Judo, Orienteering, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Wrestling Freestyle and Wrestling Greco-Roman.