DAAA is celebrating thirty years empowering dwarfs to embrace a healthy and athletic life. Working initially with the LPA, IDG, Les Autres, and now feeding talent to the World Dwarf Games and Paralympics it has evolved to become an important part of the international development of dwarf athletics.
Introducing young dwarfs to swimming, track and field, and team sports makes a positive lifetime impact. Whether just for the fun, development of personal fitness or for competition at all levels including elite standing.
Very limited opportunity existed for dwarf athletes prior to the early 1980’s. While dwarf youngsters participated in organized sport and recreation activity in their local communities, many of these opportunities vanished as they entered later grades of primary school.
As disadvantages of size and body proportion differences would create an uneven competition that turned athletes off. In addition, as elite dwarf athletes would enter early adulthood, their opportunity for competitive amateur sports would be all but exhausted. Low incidence of dwarfism made amateur sports opportunities logistically difficult.
To meet the need for a national sports association dedicated to the dwarf athlete DAAA was formed in 1984 with help of the International Disabled Games leaders and The Little People of America (LPA) who agreed to co-sponsor and promote the CP/LA Games. Directors came from the LPA to become the first DAAA Board of Directors.
Over 30 dwarf athletes signed up to compete at the 1985 CP/LA National Games. This event was the first ever national sports competition held for dwarf athletes in Basketball, Powerlift, Track (60m and 100m), Field (shot put, discus, and javelin), Swimming (25m and 50m freestyle and backstroke), Table Tennis, Target Shooting, and Bowling and Golf as exhibition sports.
Planning began immediately for the inclusion of athletic competitions at the 1986 LPA National Conference in Dearborn, MI. The LPA leadership agreed to incorporate six days of competition with the National LPA Conference schedule. Immediately prior to the 1986 Games, the Dwarf Athletic Association of America filed articles of incorporation and formalized their organization.
First DAAA National Games, 1986
The 1986 International Games brought 117 athletes to Dearborn to compete in the Games. Athletes and observers came from all over the United States and from Canada, Mexico, El Salvador and Sweden.
The 1987 National Games, hosted in Philadelphia, PA, were the DAAA qualifying events for the 1988 Seoul U.S. Paralympic Team. As a result, the quality of athletic performance from the 95 athletes at the 1987 National Games was outstanding. Nineteen new national DAAA records were set at the 1987 National Games. Nine dwarf athletes qualified for the 1988 Seoul U.S. Paralympic Team and brought home seven medals.
Participation in the DAAA National Games continued to grow, with Des Moines, IA (1988); Baltimore, MD (1989); Coeur D’ Alene, ID (1990); Dallas, TX (1991) and San Francisco, CA (1992) hosting the subsequent National Games events.
Formation Of IDAF
At the close of the games ten countries formed the International Dwarf Athletic Federation (IDAF). The IDAF organization continues to facilitate international competitions for dwarf athletes. World Dwarf Games have been held in Peterborough, England (1997); Toronto, Canada (2001); Rambouillet, France (2005); and Belfast, Northern Ireland (2009) and most recent Lansing, Michigan (2013).
World and Paralympic Participation 1988 To Rio 2016
In addition to our annual National Games, DAAA athletes have proudly represented DAAA and the United States at the 1988–2008 Paralympic Games, Pan Am Youth Games, World Youth Games, World Swimming Championships, World Powerlift Championships, World Table Tennis Championships, World Riding Championships and the DAAAUK Invitational Games.
DAAA is as committed today as our founders were in 1985 to the mission of the organization – to develop, promote and provide quality amateur events, and to help every dwarf take to the field of play – providing inspiration for future generations of recreational and elite level dwarf athletes.
DAAA National Games
Every summer DAAA holds one week of amateur athletic competitions in the U.S. usually during the week of July 4, in convenient proximity to the Little People of America (LPA) National Conference.
Registration and attendance at the LPA Conference is separate from registration and participation in DAAA National Games.
Yearly registration for competition at National Games is available to all dwarf athletes, 4 years old and older, who wish to take part in the sports. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded according to age group, gender, and classification of dwarfism.
Sports usually include, but are not limited to, track and field events, swimming, soccer, basketball, volleyball, boccia. Rules and regulations for the sports are listed on the "Sports Rules" page on this website.
World Dwarf Games
The first World Dwarf Games were held in 1993 hosted by DAAA in Chicago.
DAAA Board and staff worked four years to host the first international competition for exclusively dwarf athletes.
One hundred sixty-five athletes from 10 nations competed in this world-class event.
Opening Ceremonies included a procession of athletes with their national flags who paraded into the stadium to the exuberant applause of the spectators.
Since then, international competition has been held every 4 years, each time hosted in a different country.