Competition at the Highest Levels



Goalball was invented in 1946 to help rehabilitate blind veterans from World War II. It’s one of the most competitive sports for blind and visually impaired athletes – and the only team sport developed exclusively for them. There are no classifications of the athletes by disability, but all of them wear blackout eye masks so players with different degrees of sight compete against each other.

The game is played three-on-three, spanning two 12-minute halves of play. Athletes must throw the ball into the opponent’s goal while blocking shots on their own goal.

Goalball is a unique experience: complete silence is required during the match so players can hear the ball – which has bells in it to signal its location and direction – and react instantly.

Top Contenders:
• The U.S. Women’s Goalball team won Gold in the 2008 Paralympics, and are strong contenders in 2012 – the team has medaled in 7 of the last 8 Paralympics and World Championships.
• The Chinese Men’s team won Gold in the 2008 Paralympics. The US Men’s Goalball team placed 4th in 2008, and won Bronze in 2004.

Paralympics 2012 Competition: Aug. 30 – Sept. 7

Athlete Classifications

Goalball is played by athletes with visual impairments. There are no classes but all participants wear blackout masks to ensure fair competition.

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