About the ICSD

About the ICSD

Currently, in the world there is one organisation called the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (its acronym is ICSD), which has successfully been functioning since August 24, 1924 and which is operating a highly organised system of sports activities solely aimed for Deaf people. The ICSD is an independent and self-regulated international sports organisation. The ICSD is not involved with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The 50th IOC Session, which was held in Paris, France, on June 13, 1955, recognises the Statutes and powers of the ICSD and the IOC since that day has recognised the ICSD as an International Federation with the Olympic standing. The Deaflympics, under the patronage of the IOC, are the second oldest international multi-sporting event in the world.

In 1966, the ICSD was awarded the Olympic Cup by the IOC for its accomplishments in the area of International Deaf Sports. Starting with the year of 1985 and to now, the IOC flag has been displayed at every Deaflympics' site. The ICSD Congresses are held every two (2) years, the last 46th ICSD Congress was held from 16 to 18 July 2017, in Samsun (Turkey).

The structure of the ICSD is composed of legally independent national sports organisations representing Deaf athletes as well as controlling of the Deaf sports in their countries. The ICSD members now include affiliated national sports organisations from 117 different countries. Each country can have only one National Deaf Sports Organisation, which is recognised by a local National Olympic Committee and officially registered in the governmental bodies of the country. The registered National Deaf Sports Organisation in each country must have Deaf people in the leadership positions of the Organisation, including a President.

Noting great contribution by the ICSD in development of the global sports system of Deaf people, its compliance with the provisions of the Olympic Charter as well as the promotion of the Olympic spirit and the strengthening of friendship among the Deaf athletes around the world, the IOC Executive Board in its decision of 16 May 2001, renamed the World Games of the Deaf as the Deaflympics, thereby, eliminating the contradiction between the title of the Games and their status.

The first Deaflympics, known as the "International Silent Games", were held in the summer of 1924 in Paris, and later on these Deaf Games were held every four years with a break during the World War Two. After the end of the first Summer Deaflympics Deaf sports leaders established the international governing body of sport deaf called the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). The Winter Deaflympics were first held in Austria in 1949.

It should be noted that Mr. Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC President three times took part at the Opening Ceremonies of the 14th Summer Deaflympics held in 1981 in Cologne, Germany, the 18th Summer Deaflympics held 1997 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the 19th Summer Deaflympics, which took place in 2001 in Rome, Italy.

In 1981, during the 14th Summer Deaflympics the ICSD has begun to carry out the anti-doping control policy. The ICSD has officially joined the WADA in 2006.

From 1924 to the present day, the ICSD has organized 24 Summer and 18 Winter Deaflympics in a year following the year of the Olympic Games. In addition, every four (4) years are held the World Championships and Regional Championships in different sports. At the recent 24th Summer Deaflympics held in Caxias do Sul, Brazil more than 2,400 athletes took part.

The Summer Deaflympics include the following sports: athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cycling, football, handball, judo, karate, mountainbike, orienteering, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball and wrestling (both Greco - Roman and free styles), while the Winter Deaflympics' sports are alpine skiing, chess, curling, ice hockey, cross country skiing, futsal and snowboard.

In addition, the Regional competitions are held regularly (e.g., European Deaf Championships in different sports, Asia - Pacific Games for the Deaf, Pan American Games for the Deaf and African Championship in basketball).

The Deaflympics differ from other IOC-sanctioned Games in that they are organised and operated exclusively by members of the community they serve - Deaf people because of the specific hearing disability, the special cultural identity and use of a unique deaf communication (that is, national sign languages) system.

The purposes of the ICSD according to the Constitution of the ICSD are as follows:

  • to be the only worldwide Deaf multi-sports representative organisation.
  • to develop and to promote sport training and competition in the Deaf international sporting community.
  • to develop new training programs and expand existing opportunities for Deaf persons to participate in sports at international standards.
  • to award, supervise and assist in the coordination of the Summer and Winter Deaflympics.
  • to promote the organisation and development of Deaf sports in developing countries.
  • where the sport is recognized by the ICSD, to sanction and where appropriate, to assist in:
    • the coordination and supervision of the Deaf World Championships and Deaflympics as the sole international organization with the right to do so.
    • the promotion of the Deaf Regional Championships and Competitions.

    • the collaboration and organization of sport events of other international Deaf Sport Federations.
  • to liaise with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord, (also known as General Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF)) in pursuance of these objectives.
  • to harmonise relations between countries by providing a means whereby as affecting Deaf Sports can be exchanged.
  • to liaise and/or co-operate with, or lobby any relevant government or other organisations on behalf of Deaf people participating in sport.
  • to coordinate the calendar of international and regional sporting events.
  • to promote sports for Deaf athletes without discrimination for political, religious, economic, racial, gender, disability or sexual orientation reasons.
  • to do all things necessary or convenient to achieve or further any of these objectives.

Today the most important priorities of the ICSD are:

  1. Deaf children's sport development;
  2. Development of Deaf sport in developing countries;
  3. Further developing and strengthening cooperation and collaboration with the IOC and other international organizations;
  4. Implementation of the basic rules of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and
  5. Informing the international community about the successes and challenges of Deaf sport and promoting a healthy lifestyle among the deaf.