Ten sports governed by the International Paralympic Committee have been given new logos and new names, a significant shift designed to increase awareness of the sports and allow host cities to better capitalize on their association with championship events.
The move takes the acronym “IPC” out of the names of 10 Paralympic sports that the organization is responsible for overseeing and replaces them with “World Para” in most cases. For example, IPC Powerlifting will now be known as World Para Powerlifting and IPC Alpine Skiing becomes World Para Alpine Skiing. “In the last 10 years it was probably good for us to have this very close link with the acronym directly linked to the sport to build the reputation and awareness for what the IPC is doing outside the Paralympic Games. But we believe that now for the growth of the sports it is important that they have something that speaks for itself,” said Alexis Schaefer, the IPC’s commercial and marketing director.
Consistent Goals. The moves come after years of discussion of how best to raise awareness of Paralympic sports. Many international federations that oversee their own sports’ Paralympic programs have already adopted the “para” construction in recent years, making IPC’s rebranding for the sports it controls a natural fit, Schaefer said. (Other sports under the IPC’s control are athletics, shooting, swimming, biathlon, cross-country skiing, sledge hockey, snowboarding and dance sport.) In addition, new pictograms have been commissioned showing images of the sports themselves, another move designed to help people make an immediate connection with the activity.
Beyond the names and pictures, IPC officials are hoping that the rebranding will be beneficial for host cities as well, especially when it comes to how event logos are generated. In the past, Schaefer said, event branding has been inconsistent. “I think that changes now—with having the wording of ‘Para’ and then the sport, having the pictogram and having the possibility in the event logo to clearly bring out your national identity or regional objective or other cultural objectives that you have as a host city,” he said.
Name Shifts. Not all the sports, however, lent themselves to a simple shift to “World Para.” When it came time to rebrand IPC Shooting, members of the sport were concerned that people might confuse “Para Shooting” with parachuting. The new name? “World Shooting Para Sport.” “I think we have found a good compromise there,” Schaefer said.
Meanwhile, IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport becomes World Para Dance Sport; the word “wheelchair” was taken out entirely, a move that will make it easier in the future to incorporate a discipline for dancers wearing prostheses. And for IPC Sledge Hockey, the committee took advantage of a chance to settle an issue that for years has been a matter of debate in the international ice hockey community—is it “sledge” hockey or “sled” hockey? Now the answer is “neither,” because the sport’s new name will be World Para Ice Hockey. “We believe this gives the sport a strong identity that helps people to immediately recognize what it’s all about,” Schaefer said.