The Deaflympics (previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) are an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level.
The games have been organized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds (CISS, "The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf") since the first event in 1924.
The first games, held in Paris in 1924, were also the first ever international sporting event for athletes with a disability. The event has been held every four years since, apart from a break for World War II, and an additional event, the Deaflympic Winter Games, was added in 1949.
Previous to the foundation of the EDSO in 1983 there were already European Championships of the Deaf since 1967. At this time they were still under the auspices of the Comité International des Sports (CISS), the World Federation of Deaf Sports. However, since their task was the promotion of deaf sports world-wide, they were not able to organise European Championships on a regular basis.
For this reason the countries Belgium, Netherlands, France and Germany took the initiative to found a European Deaf Sport Federation which had the task to provide orderly and regular European Championships. For this reason the delegates of the 4 countries met a few times to determine the shape and the programme of a European Deaf Sport Federation.
40 countries with 50.000 athletes in 1.000 Deaf Sports Clubs are members of the EDSO.