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:
Today the most important priorities of the ICSD are: